Teacher’s aide charged with cocaine possession http://www.privateofficer.com
A teacher’s aide at an A-rated Weston middle school has been charged with drug possession more than a month after she was caught with two bags of cocaine.
Felicia J. Bowen, 41, teacher’s aide at Falcon Cove Middle School, turned herself in Tuesday after she was caught with 2.3 grams of cocaine on Dec. 17, according to an arrest affidavit.
Broward Sheriff’s Office Detective Aldemar Rengifo spotted Bowen that afternoon buying cocaine in the parking lot of the Seminole Truck Stop at 4690 U.S. 27 in Weston.
When Bowen drove off in a Toyota pickup, Rengifo pulled her over for following too closely behind another vehicle and changing lanes without signaling.
At that point, Bowen, of Pembroke Pines, said she had bought cocaine and removed the two bags from her bra, according to the affidavit.
Bowen was not charged until Tuesday because of an ongoing investigation, BSO spokesman Mike Jachles said.
Bowen began working for the school district in September 2000, district spokesman Andrew Feirstein said.
Feirstein said Bowen has been reassigned to a position away from students while the district investigates.
Bowen, who could not be immediately reached for comment, is the second educator at a Weston school to face drug charges in the past week.
Orlando Dager, 24, was arrested Jan. 13 after BSO deputies found $16,000 worth of pot in his car trunk. At the time he was a Cypress Bay High School substitute teacher.
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Wackenhut Security billing questioned in Florida http://www.privateofficer.com
Broward County auditors are raising red flags over how county agencies kept tabs on nearly $6 million in billings by Wackenhut Corp. for security services last year.
In a report to be presented to county commissioners on Wednesday, county auditors noted several problems with the way Wackenhut invoices have been processed.
Specifically, the report noted that county personnel were not reviewing and validating daily entries on security logs that document hours worked by guards. The audit also found that there was no evidence that hours billed were hours actually worked.
County Auditor Evan A. Lukic said the decision to review the county’s oversight of Wackenhut grew out of news reports earlier this year that alleged the Palm Beach Gardens-based security company was overbilling Miami-Dade County for services that were not performed.
“We were concerned about the allegations we heard and whether we were possibly experiencing the same thing here,” he said. “We wanted to look at it from how are we controlling the contract and administering it.”
At this point in the auditing process, Lukic said, there was no evidence Wackenhut engaged in any wrongdoing. However, based on the audit’s findings Lukic said his department will take a closer look at payments to “make sure that guards who we are paying for are present.”
In June 2005, Broward County entered into a three-year agreement with Wackenhut to provide security services. Payments for fiscal years 2005, 2006 and 2007 totaled more than $14.8 million.
In fiscal 2007, Broward County’s Aviation Department topped the list with $2.1 million in security services billings by Wackenhut. The county’s facilities maintenance division paid out $1.66 million to Wackenhut, and the county’s library division was billed nearly $633,000.
The report found that during a one-week period, the libraries division paid 233 hours of overtime for security guards and found no evidence that Wackenhut provided the required written notification and payroll documentation to substantiate the overtime payments.
When queried by the South Florida Business Journal about the auditor’s findings, Wackenhut issued the following statement: “We’ve worked closely with facilities management through the audit department to insure compliance and to improve our processes.”
Questions also have been raised about matching guard qualifications to pay rates. In some instances, the audit raised concerns about guards with lesser qualifications billing at a higher rate, resulting in overcharges.
In an Aug. 22 letter, Broward’s director of the facilities maintenance division advised Wackenhut President Drew Levine that he would now require the company to provide documentation that links guards’ qualifications with their job classifications.
In the meantime, Lukic is asking the Broward County Commission to direct the county administrator to come up with procedures to ensure that billings are validated, that the guards’ qualifications match their job descriptions and that overtime charges are substantiated.
In May, a Miami-Dade County audit found that Wackenhut overbilled the county by as much as $6 million over three years for services it did not provide to Miami-Dade Transit, and then falsified records to cover up the over charges.
In its response to that audit, which Wackenhut published on its Web site, the company said it has cooperated with the county’s investigation, but “continues to question the audit methodology.”
Wackenhut said a lawsuit by a former guard, who accused the company of padding its bills, has caused the increased scrutiny.
“It is Wackenhut’s belief that county entities … have been placed under undue pressure and influence by unsubstantiated allegations in this ongoing disputed litigation,” it stated.
Miami-Dade continues to review Wackenhut’s response to determine what actions should be taken, county spokeswoman Suzy Trutie said.
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Thursday, November 29, 2007
Broward County Florida November 29, 2007
A Broward sheriff’s patrol sergeant lied when she claimed an assailant stabbed her on Sunday but won’t face any criminal charges or discipline from the agency, officials said Wednesday.”We’re going to get her some help,” said sheriff’s spokesman Elliot Cohen, explaining that Sgt. Lisa DiSavino had been experiencing personal problems and admitted that those issues led her to stab herself in the stomach and make up the story that she was attacked.DiSavino, 29, had said she was stabbed while on patrol in Tamarac early Sunday.
The seven-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office was treated at Broward General Medical Center and released hours later to continue her recovery at home. She could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
DiSavino is off duty while she recovers from the wound, and officials have offered her additional help through the Sheriff’s Office’s employee assistance program, Cohen said.DiSavino’s call for help about 2 a.m. Sunday, in which she said she was stabbed by a man she had approached at a bus stop along Commercial Boulevard, led to an all-out search for a suspect who officials eventually learned did not exist.The agency for at least six hours on Sunday sent K-9 units, a helicopter and SWAT team members to the area surrounding the bus stop, where part of the search saw deputies combing through bushes. They were looking for a man who wore a Miami Dolphins jersey, just as DiSavino had described, officials said at the time.
Officers from neighboring police departments joined in the search.There were echoes of “not again” from law enforcement officials and residents, with the reported attack coming at a time when violence aimed at South Florida officers has spiked, with the Broward Sheriff’s Office feeling the brunt of it.Only three weeks ago, the agency buried Corrections Deputy Paul Rein, who was shot to death with his own gun on Nov. 7.County inmate Michael Mazza, whom Rein was driving to court that day, was charged in the killing.Rein was the third South Florida law officer slain in the line of duty since August, the tragedy preceded by the Sept. 13 shooting death of Miami-Dade Police Officer Jose Somohano in a South Miami-Dade shootout and the Aug. 10 shooting of Broward Sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Reyka outside a Pompano Beach Walgreens.The prime suspect in Somohano’s death was shot dead by police during a confrontation in Pembroke Pines the night of Sept. 13.Reyka’s murder remains unsolved.
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