Those Miami-Dade cops are a testy bunch.
The Dade County Police Benevolent Association recently told officers to stop talking to Channel 10 reporters for the next year, Channel 10 reporters say. The edict came after a report by the station's "problem solver" Jeff Weinsier, who cornered a few cops who had parked in front of hydrants and in fire lanes. One even denied he had parked illegally and then climbed into his cruiser parked in front of a hydrant. The report landed at least one cop in trouble his patrol car was taken away and spurred an angry response from the PBA.
There's now a 1005-word article posted on the PBA's Website (www.dcpba.org) by general counsel Blanca Torrents Greenwood. Next to the posting is a caricature of a devil with Weinsier's head on top. Greenwood's message warned cops against talking to Weinsier. "No doubt he is trying to get a reaction and will do ANYTHING to do so," Greenwood writes. "At one point during his little story, he appears to get insulted that a cop would lie to him. Please! Who the heck made him so reverent?"
Dade County Police Benevolent Association
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For his part, Weinsier says the PBA's anger is misdirected. He's done plenty of stories that have helped the police, he says. One of his reports, about a homeowners association policy forbidding cop cars in driveways, spurred the Attorney General's Office to intervene on behalf of the officers. "After doing Problem Solvers, I have some pretty thick skin. They can call me a douche bag or whatever they want," Weinsier says. "Any publicity is good publicity, but when you say I'm out to make police officers look bad, that's just plain wrong and libelous."
Weinsier says Channel 10's vans have now become targets of ticket-writing cops. He says a recent violation had a message that read: "This is payback."
John Rivera, PBA president and a Miami-Dade sergeant, says Channel 10 asked for it. News vans have always parked illegally, so if they want to call out cops for doing so, then they'll be targeted too. Says Rivera: "He could have done that story without the venom he extracted."