The months-long probe led to charges that detectives Brian Dodge and Billy Koepke stole an estimated $10,622, fabricated cases, kidnapped a man and drove him around Broward County for hours, and illegally detained several other people.
Dodge, 30, and Koepke, 32, are on house arrest and must wear GPS monitors, pending the outcome of their trials. They were released on bond Friday afternoon after 15 hours in the county jail. The two detectives are charged with racketeering, kidnap, extortion, false imprisonment, grand theft, official misconduct and falsifying records. Dodge is also charged with perjury and forging the signature of his sergeant, Michael Florenco, on a police report.
Both men face life in prison if convicted of kidnapping. They could face more than 100 years in prison if convicted of the rest of the charges. Dodge is charged with a total of 19 counts, Koepke with 17.
The officers are accused of making traffic stops – that may or may not have been legal – in order to search 10 motorists and passengers for money and pills, according to the Broward State Attorney’s Office.
If they found a large amount of money, the detectives would fabricate criminal charges to steal a portion of the money and turn the rest in as evidence, the charges allege.
In one case, victims said the officers stole their money, confiscated their car, and charged them with possession of drugs. Investigators wrote that Dodge told the victims “their money and car was gone, and they needed to post bond and get the hell out of Florida and never come back. Dodge then told them [police] would not be coming to look for them and neither would the bondsman.”
What is astounding is that according to Mike Dutko, defense attorney for Dodge, “They’re going to fight this.” “If there’s a common thread here, the common thread is [witnesses who are] drug dealers and drug addicts with an incentive to try to manipulate the process for personal gain.”
Police corruption is rampant, there is no debating that. However, an abundance of the corrupt practices that take place among the police, tend to occur away from the purview of the average onlooker and through means far less attention-grabbing then the corrupt methods employed by the aforementioned officers. It is imperative that as police become more bold with their almost limitless authority, that the general public and media respond by pushing these types of police corruption stories to the forefront of the national news headlines.