Broward County
Crime Commission

"Evil Triumphs When Good People Stand Idly By"


1976: The Broward County Crime Commission Emerges


The Broward County Crime Commission was founded in 1976 during a fragmented time in Broward County Public Safety. During the mid-70’s, Broward County was considered the fastest growing area in the United States. Likewise, the Criminal Justice System and local government were dealing with growing pains of a soon to be burgeoning and booming metropolis.   Unfortunately, crime statistics were also booming. In contrast, budget cuts were occurring across the board in Law Enforcement. Salaries, benefits, working conditions and morale were at all time lows.


Amid an intensifying problem, and out of concern and petition from Broward County residents, the Broward County Crime Commission was founded by Frank R. Pinter, and a special joint committee of 12 business owners, professionals and corporate executives, as well as current and prior law enforcement personnel. The Broward County Crime Commission’s initial purpose was to study crime and the criminal justice system in Broward County.


Frank R. Pinter was appointed as the first Chairman/President of the Broward County Crime Commission, and will forever be remembered as the founding father of the agency.   Frank Pinter was a great man; a dedicated man of vision and results to the community. Over the next 30 years, under his leadership, as both president and chairman, the Broward County Crime Commission grew to one of the foremost Crime Commission’s in the United States.


Pinter was a perfect fit to head up the Crime Commission during its inception, as he recognized the “writing on the wall” of terrible things to come. As a 17 year veteran of the Broward Sheriffs Office, he possessed both a diversified and vast background as a detective and criminal investigator. He had previously been appointed by several Governors as a Special Investigator for the Broward County Grand Jury to investigate corruption of public officials. He had also been the Chief Investigator for the Broward County State Attorney’s Office.


Through his indelible background, Pinter confirmed a potential crisis ready to emerge, and instituted sweeping recommendations to improve key areas of the county’s criminal justice apparatus. Having also been a candidate for Sheriff of Broward County in 1968, Pinter saw the need for a Crime Commission, based upon evaluating similar successful Crime Commissions in Kansas City, Chicago and New Jersey.  


For example, Pinter was very alarmed by the fact that things had gotten so dire in Kansas City, that a grand jury had issued a decreed that legitimate businessmen should form a Citizen’s Crime Commission to counter the rampant crime in the city. Putting down roots in south Florida, and raising a young family at the time, Pinter surely did not want a similar Kansas City criminal fate to occur in Broward County.


With a “nip it in the bud” passionate approach, he quickly implemented programs to key areas of the Broward County Criminal Justice System, including protocols to help under-funded police departments meet their budgets. He lobbied policy setting people and urged them to allocate optimum budget dollars for public safety and encouraged them to keep political platforms out of policing. He also approached Law Enforcement oriented leaders in the community to endorse and embolden Criminal Justice System transparency to the citizens of Broward County. From these community relationships, neighborhood watches emerged and the approach on crime became more of an agency/community partnership to deter crime.


The Commission was founded with the sole purpose to protect the citizens of Broward County. It was designed to maintain a constant vigil against the intrusion of crime in society by: 1) conducting fact-finding inquiries; 2) bringing facts to the public’s attention; 3) referring criminal findings to appropriate law enforcement agencies for possible prosecution; 4) and finally making recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature for improvements in the laws that can better assist Law Enforcement.



1977 – 1980: The Early Years


By 1977, over 200 concerned citizens had joined the Broward County Crime Commission. Leonard Spatz became the agency’s second president. Most of the concerned and active members were derived from the Business Sector. Armed with the weight of public opinion, the threat to efficient and honest law enforcement was eliminated.



1981 – 1984: Making a Presence


During the early 80’s, the Crime Commission led several community initiatives to alert the community about the risk associated with narcotics, especially amongst children. With south Florida being notorious for the Cocaine Cowboys, the Crime Commission, through the leadership of its third president, Hugh Murray, took an emphatic stance about the personal destruction of the narcotic that was being masqueraded as a social and recreational drug, with no addictive side-effects. Through numerous programs and forums, the Crime Commission stood steadfast in educating and enlightening the community.



1985 – 1991: A Leader of Professional Standards


By 1985, the Broward County Crime Commission had emerged as the preeminent non-governmental, non-political, non-partisan agency in support of the Law Enforcement and the Criminal Justice System in Broward County.   Being non-political, the Crime Commission was very proactive in ensuring that quality police officers and/or deputies weren’t victims of consequences having to deal with “so-called politics”. During 1985, the Sun-Sentinel published an article citing that the Crime Commission was averse to newly elected Sheriff Nick Navarro firing or demoting 35 key personnel (who had 300 years of combined experience) from the Sheriffs Office after his election victory.  


From 1985 to 1986, the Crime Commission conducted numerous forums on organized crime.   James DeCoursey became the organizations fourth president. The Crime Commission diligently lobbied local and state governmental agencies to set up a state wide agency to combat organized crime. Chairman Frank Pinter initially proposed the idea, comparing it to a 24-hour-a-day, year-round grand jury.   Quoted in the Sun-Sentinel newspaper, Pinter stated, ``What we are looking at is a nonpolitical civilian agency, a super, statewide commission unbounded by jurisdictional jealousies and interagency infighting, `` Pinter said. During a lobbying effort in Tallahassee, Pinter commented that the statewide agency should be given powers of subpoena, arrest, immunity and contempt and be shielded from liability. Out of the lobbying and support by the Broward County Crime Commission, the Statewide Prosecutor’s Office evolved in 1986  


As a branch of the Florida attorney Generals Office, the Office of Statewide Prosecution was charged with the responsibility to prosecute certain organized criminal activities which occur in, or affect, two or more judicial circuits. The modus operandi of the agency examines: bribery; burglary; criminal usury; extortion; gambling; kidnapping; larceny; murder; prostitution; perjury; robbery; carjacking; home-invasion robbery; narcotics violations; violations of the provisions of the Florida RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization), Florida Anti-Fencing Act, or the Florida Anti-Trust Act of 1980 as amended; computer pornography; and any crime involving, or resulting in, fraud or deceit upon any person; or any attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit any of the crimes specifically enumerated above.


By 1988, the Crack Cocaine epidemic burst onto the scene in Broward County and the United States. The Crime Commission was again, right there, right out in front, educating people on the both the dangers and addiction levels of the drug. The Crime Commission hosted a 28 city coalition with elected officials and police chiefs from every city to hash out strategies to deter the trafficking of the street level narcotic.  At Pinter's suggestion, the board of directors for the Broward League of Cities agreed in principle to create an anti- cocaine coalition.



1991 – 1999: A Laureate Governing Body


In 1993, James Hill became the fifth president of the Broward County Crime Commission. By 1995, Dottie Ross became the sixth president of the agency and the first female president of the Crime Commission. Ms. Ross would later go on to become a city commissioner, vice-mayor and Mayor in the city of Hallandale Beach, Florida. Ross was a great fit for the Crime Commission as she was law enforcement minded. Having worked for the Hallandale Beach Police Department for 28 years, Dotty Ross graduated from the first Auxiliary Police Academy and served consecutively in an administrative position to four consecutive chiefs of police.


Gene Kerry became the seventh president in 1996. During this time, the Crime Commission took an adept stance against the privatization of prisons and jails. Chairman Pinter was quoted in the Sun-Sentinel newspaper as saying, “The Broward County Crime Commission has followed for several years the discourse on privatization of parts of Broward's correction system. It is our conclusion that only a professional career law enforcement agency can administer the operation of a prison in an efficient manner so as to assure the safety of the public, as well as that of the corrections staff and prisoners. This can only occur when the system is free of profit-driven constraints.

Quality career corrections personnel depend on benefits of pensions, promotion, training, etc. all of which are kept to a minimum in the private security field.  We think you will find that the tried and true professionalism of Broward Sheriff's Office corrections officers is the only answer in administering our jails and its inmate population.”


In this period, Art Santucci was invited to join the Broward County Crime Commission. Over a 10-year period, he served three terms as the Crime Commission’s eighth president. During his terms, he developed and coordinated the activities of all Broward County law enforcement agencies, in conjunction with the Broward Chiefs of Police Association, to launch the Drug Free America drug-testing program in Broward County. Mr. Santucci also worked with county and municipal law enforcement agencies and the State Attorney’s Office to evaluate and support law enforcement and related criminal justice initiatives both at the state and regional levels.



2000 – 2005: A Statesman Voice of Reform


In May of 2000, the Crime Commission worked closely with the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in sponsoring Project CARGO (Communities Addressing Responsible Gun Ownership). The initiative was aimed to curb gun violence in schools and at home through an aggressive campaign of education and enforcement, capitalizing on the resources and expertise of the ATF.


In 2003, Monica Hofheinz became the ninth president of the Crime Commission. Her experience as a career prosecutor for the Broward State Attorney’s Office (SAO) was invaluable in moving the Crime Commission forward in its endeavors on behalf the Criminal Justice System. She was especially assertive and successful in allowing the Crime Commission to maintain accurate analyses on budgetary and personnel issues with the Criminal Justice system.


Under her leadership, in 2004, the Crime Commission worked with Dr. Joshua Perper and the Broward Medical Examiners office in:


1. Establishing a forensic accident investigation program which was presented to several of the police departments to be used by their patrol divisions.


2. Creating a Bioterrorism symposium.


On February 25th, 2004, the Crime Commission presented its Anti-Bioterrorism Program to 20 law enforcement officers from 8 local police departments, as well as the Broward Sheriff’s Office. The purpose of this program was to determine if this program would benefit the community and the police departments in general.


In 2005, Peter Stevens became the organizations 10th president. Together with Chairman Frank Pinter and Director James DePelisi, Mr. Stevens played a role in formulating the Broward County Crime Commission’s Think Tank Program to promote interagency coordination. Topics included: budgets, training, recruitment, inter-agency cooperation, equipment, communications, shared intelligence, ant-crime strategies and all matters of concern within the criminal justice community. Networking and familiarity of inter-agency personnel was the major goal and objective of the program. Today, this program is vital to the Criminal Justice community, as it presents an opportunity for local police agencies to come together to discuss mutual problems and how to overcome them to better serve the community.


During this time, the Crime Commission also provided education and awareness regarding the risks and horrors of Methamphetamine. Proactive about the War on Drugs, the Crime Commission implemented an Anti-Methamphetamine program in conjunction with insight from the Portland Crime Commission, of Portland Oregon.


Always thinking about the “Men and Women in Uniform”, as well as their families, the Crime Commission arranged financing to underwrite family orientation classes to recent police academy graduates to familiarize them with the lifestyle of a police officer and the effect on the family unit.



2006 – Present: Best Practices and Business Intelligence Policing


Effective January 1st, 2006 through the current date, James DePelisi became the 11th president of the Broward County Crime Commission, implementing a cadre of key programs including: Contractor Fraud Prevention (during the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma); Police Department Recruitment; Anti-Terrorism Awareness; Child Predator Awareness; and Identity Theft Prevention.


The Crime Commission continued to render insight and purview on how and why Assistant State Attorney’s should get better salaries and benefits, in order to maintain seasoned and talented prosecutors.   It lobbied for State Prosecutors to have pension increases for better planned retirement.


In 2007, the Crime Commission implemented its Law Enforcement Recruitment program, where it would assist as a central recruiting depot for Broward County law enforcement, whereupon applicant inquiries would automatically be submitted to all departments. The Crime Commission implemented an internet initiative, along with the printing of 3, 800 posters. The program was a virtual success, receiving approximately 160 inquiries per month for police positions in Broward County. The program became so efficient, that the Crime Commission was forwarding, on average, five qualified applications per day to the all the Broward police agencies.


In the post months following Hurricane Wilma, the Broward County Crime Commission rolled out one of most adherent citizen protection programs in quite some time, with its Hurricane Fraud Contracting program. This operation served as a deterrent against consumer fraud, especially in the area of hurricane repair.


The Crime Commission was both a shoulder to lean on and a voice in the community to prevent price gouging and stolen deposits for repair work never conducted. The Crime Commission worked in concert with the Attorney Generals Office by circulating information to the community, as well as posting notices on community TV bulletin boards. Hand outs included a checklist of do’s and don’ts, a well as educational workshops and Town Hall Meetings with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).


Standing by the purpose of which the Crime Commission was founded, the Crime Commission: conducted fact-finding investigations, brought material facts to the public’s attention, referred the findings to appropriate law enforcement agencies, and then made recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature for improvements in laws and in the operations of government, in its prevention against Hurricane Contractor Fraud.


Also during 2007, the Crime Commission further indoctrinated its Counter Terrorism awareness initiative as a community awareness function. The Crime Commission felt at the time (and still feels) that it was (is) extremely important for the general public to become involved in identifying suspicious persons and activities in the ongoing effort to thwart terrorism.


By 2008, the Broward County Crime Commission’s Best Practices Program was rolling full steam ahead, with its credible White Paper Research Program. The Crime Commission sought out studies of the best internal practices of law enforcement, criminal justice agencies, and community-based organizations from around the world that had been implemented and honed to demonstrate superiority in crime and fear reduction. After compilation, the Crime Commission began the process of forwarding its findings to all of the Criminal Justice agencies in Broward County.


In this endeavor, the Broward County Commission learned that Best Practice investigations were able to yield great benefits in the education of public officials and citizens, and the effects that such practices had on realized performance improvements of operations. In addition, such due-diligence studies were able to assess and determine strategic solutions to better improve public safety.


In 2009, the Broward County Crime Commission participated in the Broward Legislative Delegation of the Statewide Court Funding Task Force, which played an integral role in restoring funding for Traffic Court Hearing Officers for 2009 and onward.


Frank R. Pinter, Founder/Chairman 1976 – 2007


Past Presidents


Frank R. Pinter, President 1976, 1977

Leonard Spatz, President 1978, 1979

Hugh Murray, President 1980 – 1984

Maynard Abrams 1985

James DeCoursey, President 1985 – 1992

James Hill, President 1993, 1994

Dottie Ross, President 1995

Gene Kerry, President 1996

Ed Shasek, President 1997 – 1999

Art Santucci, President 2000 – 2002

Monica Hofheinz, President 2003,2004

Peter Stevens, President 2005

Jim DePelisi, President 2006 – present