Fernando Villa, Miami-Dade Cop, Arrested After Passing Out Drunk in Squad Car

Update: According to his arrest report, Villa blamed his sluggish responses on a

concussion he suffered at least 13 years ago while playing high school


It's hard to believe after ATV crashes and poop smeared squad cars, but Miami law enforcement hit a new low on Tuesday.

That's when cops discovered off-duty Miami-Dade police officer Fernando Villa passed out in his own patrol car as it idled in an intersection in West Kendall.

The worst part wasn't even that Villa was dressed in a t-shirt and shorts (that seems oddly appropriate). But rather that, as a member of the department's Special Response Team until a recent drug bust went wrong, he was supposed to be one of Miami's finest.

A fellow county cop discovered Villa passed out behind the wheel at 8:20 p.m. in the intersection of Southwest 137th Avenue and 137th Street, according to the Miami Herald.

But, this being Miami, the controversy doesn't end there.

Despite specific orders from Miami-Dade Police Director Jim Loftus to treat Villa "like everyone else," Villa was neither cuffed nor booked into jail as is standard DUI procedure. Instead, he was driven home after promising to appear in court.

"Someone along the line decided to depart from my specific directions,'' Loftus told the Herald. "We're going to discover the identity of the person or persons and hold them accountable."

Villa, a 32-year-old officer who normally patrols Kendall, has been suspended with pay as police conduct an internal investigation.

The fact that Villa was allowed to sign a promise-to-appear notice, which are usually reserved for misdemeanors and not serious offenses like DUIs, suggests that he might have received special treatment because he's a cop.

It also calls into question the wisdom of MDPD's roughly 2,700 take-home squad cars.

Villa was a member of the county's elite, heavily armed Special Response Team that shot and killed four robbery suspects -- including one cooperating defendant -- during a June 30 drug operation in the Redlands.

But Villa was transferred back to regular patrol duty after the botched drug raid, the Herald reports.

The DUI incident is the latest in a string of embarrassments to hit Miami law enforcement.

First, Miami Beach cop Derick Kuilan nearly killed two people this July after allegedly plowing into them on his police ATV while taking a bachelorette for a boozy late-night joyride. He was fired and is awaiting trial on reckless driving and DUI charges.

Then there was the feud between Miami Police and the Florida Highway Patrol that culminated in one trooper getting his patrol car smeared with human feces.

Now Villa's arrest has thrown Miami-Dade police into the unprofessional mix as well.

Mark our words: It's only a matter of time until the Girl Scouts of Southern Florida are caught cooking vats of methamphetamine at a ranch in Hialeah.

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Michael E. Miller was a staff writer at Miami New Times for five years. His work for New Times won many national awards, including back-to-back-to-back Sigma Delta Chi medallions. He now covers local enterprise for the Washington Post.