Video: Uniformed cop picks up prostitutes
A Melbourne, Fla., police officer was fired after being accused of picking up prostitutes in his patrol car
MELBOURNE, Fla. — A Melbourne police officer was fired after he was accused of picking up prostitutes in his police car while in uniform.
Officer Jose Otero chatted amiably with a woman who police identified as a prostitute in surveillance video.
After an investigation by Otero's own department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, detectives filed seven counts against him.
"This includes operating a conveyance for the purpose of prostitution, purchasing the services of a person for prostitution," Melbourne Police Department spokesman Sheridan Shelley said.
Otero was driving his police cruiser to pick up prostitutes, and he didn't know other officers were watching him from unmarked cars. He also didn't know his own dashboard camera was gathering evidence.
The dashboard camera shots matched up with hand-held surveillance by detectives, showing it was Otero's car that was followed.
The hand-held shots showed shadowy figures near Otero's police car. Police said they interviewed four prostitutes, who admitted they had sex with Otero while he was on the job.
The most stunning evidence of all was video of a woman getting out of Otero's car on the passenger side, while an officer got out, shirtless, on the driver's side and began putting his uniform back on.
Police said the meetings with prostitutes went on at least from February to May of this year.
In Otero's termination letter, the police chief said, "The criminal conduct uncovered during this investigation is extremely disturbing and demonstrates that you lack the proper judgment in your role as a police officer."
Both Otero and his attorney could not be reached for comment. Otero will be criminally prosecuted on seven misdemeanor counts.
Reprinted with permission from WESH