Florida is home to such disproportionate levels of weird crime, you have to wonder what cops do all day. A soft-core edition of the Sun Sentinel has the answer: some get buck-naked in the name of justice and take down massage parlors.
The police officer lay face down on the massage table, on duty, unarmed and naked.
For 30 minutes Shu Yuan Sun worked the muscles of the officer's back, his shoulders and legs, and then told him, "Turn over." And that, said Hallandale Beach Police Sgt. Todd Crevier, is when the crime went down.
The brave officers of the Hallandale Beach Police undressed and arrested three women this month, charging them with prostitution and practicing health care without a license (just in case you thought a place called MemeX Massage Parlor, where the arrests occurred, was could cure your back pain.)
But are these half-finished "massages" really worth our tax dollars? Definitely, according to Hallandale Beach Police Chief Dwayne Flournoy. "Nude stings" are an important part of ferreting out human trafficking, he said, where women from China are often taken as sex slaves. "It is a more sophisticated operation that requires a different mode of investigating," Flournoy added.
Hmm, like dusting for fingerprints? In a way:
During one visit, the woman identified as Nikki "brushed her hand across my penis" and then "made an up and down motion with her hand" to indicate an offer of masturbation, wrote one officer. The officer said he declined, saying, "Maybe next time."
Don't register for cop school quite yet. This is hard work! Really hard.
"It sounds like a lot of fun, but it's a nasty, tough job," said Charlie Fuller, a retired Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent who now runs the International Association of Undercover Officers. "The prostitutes have a better intelligence system than any agency in the world. You have to disrobe or they won't talk to you."
Sometimes, such sensitive investigations need a woman officer's touch:
...they do pose as prostitutes in operations targeting johns. Still, "they are not very comfortable with playing that [role]," Flournoy said.
Totally exposed, officers have nowhere to hide recording devices or guns, the paper reports. And cop nudity often complicates trials, said defense attorney Eric Schwartzreich, since a sex act might be construed as consensual. "In general, I don't think it is a good idea to have your police officers naked while on duty," he said.
Neither does Howard Finkelstein, Broward County's chief public defender and nudity downer. "[It] will have zero impact on prostitution," he said. "It is seedy, back-alley, icky, and we don't want our cops doing that, especially so when it's meaningless."
Still, the practice has drawn the attention of surrounding South Florida police departments, the police chief said, and other agencies are asking them to teach their methods. Happy endings for all.