A little-known Miami-Dade Police Department environmental fund is drawing intense scrutiny amid questionable expenses and a ballooning budget.
The Florida Environmental Task Force Trust Fund was set up a decade ago to fight environmental crimes. Since then, the fund overseen by the county police department has spent more than $5 million — with half of that coming in the past three years.
In the name of protecting the environment, the green fund has been used to purchase cars for top commanders, high-tech surveillance equipment, DirecTV subscriptions, iPhones, office furniture, boats and pricey laptop computers.
A large chunk of expenditures from the green fund has gone toward cars and fuel, according to documents reviewed by The Miami Herald. That includes the purchase of at least 10 SUVs in 2007 and 2009 that were given to top police commanders — including Police Director James Loftus — rather than officers focused on combating environmental violators.