Interview with Dale Bowlin

what the attitude was in 1979 for assigning officers?


Central District, being one of the more least desirable places to work, because there was, it's a very busy area. It's a very volatile area. There's a lot of serious calls in that area. It was not a pleasant place to work for most of our White officers. And so, in my opinion, it was used as a punishment area. And one of the most graphic illustrations I can use of that is that there was an article being run in the newspaper at that time, a series of articles concerning police brutality, and the officer in those articles, who was identified as the most brutal officer in our department, allegedly, by the Miami Herald, was assigned to that district. He came to that district and I wa--at the time was the commander of that district, and I said, "Of all the people we don't need here, is this officer who has a history of problems, ah, ah, around use of force and having to fight with citizens and so forth." However, I was told he was going to be put there because he had fell out of disfavor[SIC] with some of the people in top management and he ended up there. So I think, ah, but I don't think that this is just endemic to the public safety department. I think, all around this nation in police departments, there are punishment areas. And many of them are in the Black areas where we should have the best police officers. I think many times, the, some of the worst police officers are put in there to punish them, to show that this is where you're going to end up if you defy the administration and so forth. And I think that's what happened in our, I know that's what happened in our department. And I think that fit in to the problem. Ah, it was a tremendous management problem to manage that very volatile district and at the same be given employees who did not share the philosophy of "Let's get along with the community and let's give them the best service."