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Pompano Beach is a city of approximately 103,000 residents, located north of Fort Lauderdale in Broward County, Florida. Like many cities in the county, Pompano has struggled with chronic street prostitution along its three major highways– Interstate 95, U.S. Route 1, and Florida State Road 811– since at least the late 1980s. It was also one of several South Florida communities targeted in the early 1990s for its many sex-oriented businesses.
As the highways’ prostitution activities often affected several cities (and unincorporated areas), early anti-prostitution efforts in the area were often led by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. News reports suggest the BSO has conducted street-level reverse stings in Pompano since at least 1991. The Pompano Beach Police Department has also conducted street-level reverse stings to intercept sex buyers, beginning as early as 1995. At times the two law enforcement agencies have joined forces to conduct multi-site, large-scale reverse stings, bringing in as many as 575 arrests over the course of several days. Arrestees’ names are not typically released to the public. A recent example of a reverse sting occurred in April, 2014 in which the Broward Sheriff’s Office targeted prostitution, human trafficking, and drug cases by conducting reversals and other tactics in several different cities as part of a county-wide “sweep” that resulted in 97 arrests in one day.
A former community activist facing trial on unlawful compensation and bribery charges was arrested in a prostitution sting in 2012 in Pompano Beach. Investigators from the Broward Sheriff’s Office arrested a man on March 31 near the Relax Inn and charged him with one count of soliciting another for lewdness. Two Broward Sheriff’s deputies were posing undercover as prostitutes on the 1400 block of Northwest 31st Avenue when, according to incident reports, they were approached by the suspect and negotiated with the two deputies to perform an oral sex competition for $50 and met them at a hotel room where he was arrested. The man’s identity was disclosed publicly.
Also in 2012, a Broward County Sheriff’s Office deputy was arrested during an undercover prostitution sting and charged with Soliciting Another for Lewdness. According to the arrest affidavit, the off-duty deputy approached a female officer working undercover as a prostitute on the 1200 block of NW 31 Avenue in Pompano Beach and solicited her for oral sex. In exchange, he offered her $20. The undercover officer agreed to the deal and told the man to park his car and follow her to a nearby hotel, which was under surveillance by BCSO deputies. He reportedly declined the room, allegedly saying he preferred the car. Nearby officers signaled to the undercover that the deal was complete, and he was subsequently arrested. The man’s identity was disclosed publicly.
In September, 2018, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office arrested 11 male sex buyers in street-level reverse sting conducted along a two-mile stretch of Dixie Highway from East Atlantic Boulevard north to East Copans Road, in Pompano Beach. The six hour operation was conducted in response to complaints by business owners and residents. The identities of all the arrestees were disclosed by police.
Loss of employment is another consequence of purchasing sex that has occurred within the city. For example, in January, 1998, a veteran Pompano Beach police detective resigned amid allegations that he solicited a prostituted woman while on duty in his patrol car. The man had been a detective virtually the entire 8 years he worked for the department, and was under investigation by the Broward State Attorney’s Office. On the afternoon of Dec. 31, 1997, the man reportedly approached a prostituted woman in the 1000 block of Northeast 12th Avenue. He was returning from the Broward County Courthouse and was on duty when he was caught during a reverse sting operation conducted by Fort Lauderdale police. He was detained by police, who then took his statement and released him. The officer was immediately notified of the incident and he was placed on administrative duty and an internal affairs investigation initiated. The next week, the man turned in his letter of resignation, saying he would end his career with the department.
- Pompano Beach Police Department
- Broward County Sheriff’s Department
- Fort Lauderdale Police Department
- Reverse Stings:
- “15 Men Jailed after Deputies Act as Hookers”, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, February 17 1991.
- “23 Men Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, Miami Herald, July 29 1991.
- “Pompano Police Fighting Prostitution with Decoys”, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, July 20 1995.
- “Band Caught in Sex Deal; Prostitute Decoy Nets Six Member Arrests”, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, July 25 1995.
- “576 Arrests Made in One-Week Countywide Sting”, Miami Herald, August 1 1995.
- “Sex, Lies, and 596 Arrests; Authorities Wrap Up Prostitution Crackdown”, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, August 1 1995.
- “Pompano Beach Police Plan Prostitution Sting Friday”, Miami Herald, May 29 1997.
- “The Letter of the Law; Cops Try Humiliation Tactic to Put Brakes on Prostitution”, Miami Herald, August 24 1997.
- “39 Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, September 1 1997.
- “Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, June 14 2012.
- “BSO: Operation Rundown a Success”, CBS/WFOR-TV 4, April 11 2014.
- https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/former-pompano-beach-activist-arrested-prostitution-sting/ (2012)
- http://miami.cbslocal.com/bso-deputy-arrested-in-prostitution-sting-conducted-by-his-own-department/ (2012)
- http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/fl-sb-pompano-prostitution-sting (2018)
Loss of Employment:
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Police Say Adult Businesses Find Haven in Pompano”, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, June 3 1995.
- “City Targets Suspected Prostitution”, Lakeland Ledger, June 4 1995.
- “Adult Photo Studio Sues Deputy Police Chief”, Miami Herald, June 14 1995.
- “Pompano Beach Facing Battle Close City’s Adult Businesses; Laws Against Sex Shops Have Been Unsuccessful Countywide”, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, June 12 1995.
- “Pompano Hopes New Law Curbs X-Rated Businesses”, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, March 6 1996.
- “Cities Work to Clean Up U.S. 1; More Joint Stings, Shame, Used to Fight Rampant Prostitution”, Miami Herald, June 20 1999.
- “4 Arrested in Pompano Beach Escort Service that Sent Women to Palm Beach County Callers”, Palm Beach Post, September 8 2010.
- “Two Men Arrested, Accused Of Running Profitable Prostitution Business”, CBS/WFOR-TV 4, August 8 2014.
- “4 Kids Found as Vice Team Arrests Mom”, Miami Herald, September 3 1996.