Keystone Cops at College

University of Miami police claim they are underequipped. Some people want to keep them quiet.

After supervisors informed Allocco he was under investigation, he fired off another missive to the internal affairs division: "It is absurd that officers within the same department are working off two entirely different radio systems. ... One officer cannot reach another for help or aid in a time of emergency." He continued: "This dangerous situation of having two radios was also brought up with the death of Mr. Pawley, a Coral Gables homeowner living a few blocks from the University of Miami." Clifton Pawley was shot to death outside his home April 24, 1996, in a still-unsolved case. "The University Division officers were never advised of the police call being dispatched over the Coral Gables police radio. ... Our officers may have driven right by the murderers without ever knowing it."

Gables internal affairs investigator Walter Money next reviewed Allocco's report on Devito and determined it was rife with inaccuracy. The total response time in the case was six minutes and calls went out almost simultaneously to both police departments, Money wrote in his closing report. The first 911 caller mistakenly indicated that someone had been hit by a ball. If UM officers had received such a call, they likely wouldn't have responded, Money concluded.

What happened this past October 26 illustrates the limbo UM officers endure. After Coral Gables Police Chief James Skinner determined Allocco violated department rules against unauthorized public comment, he couldn't follow up with punishment. "Since Officer Allocco is a full-time employee of the University of Miami, not the CGPD, we are referring the matter of appropriate disciplinary action to you," Skinner wrote to Henry Christiansen, director of UM's public safety department.

In late December Allocco received his penalty: three days suspension with no pay.

tris_korten@miaminewtimes.com

1998

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