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Thursday, January 9, 2020

Real World Police on US Sports Net Presented by Tactical P.E. Featuring: Serial Police Impersonator Caught by His Own Body Camera

Jeremy Dewitte's first arrest for impersonating a police officer happened more than twenty years ago and he hasn't slowed down since. In fact, Dewitte was arrested for impersonating a police officer three separate times in the last three months of 2019

In the interim Dewitte was hard at work racking up dozens of minor violations, with the occasional felony thrown in. To top it off, Dewitte is remarkably good at violating his probation. In researching this case I created a spreadsheet to keep track of Dewitte's Florida record. See the craziness for yourself:

The story of Dewitte's first arrest takes more space than I have available here, so for now we begin when that case ends. On September 30, 1998 Jeremy Dewitte entered a plea of no contest to charges of impersonating a police officer and theft, instantly becoming a convicted felon.

He was sentenced to five years probation, banned from Mobil gas stations for the duration, and ordered to repay a bit more than $14. Violation #1, details pending* 7/14/99 - Warrant 9/08/99 - Arrested 9/13/99 - Allegations admitted; 8 days jail. Violation #2, details pending* 9/28/00 - Warrant 10/2/00 - Arrested 10/6/00 - Allegations admitted; 6 months house arrest, and 3 years probation. At this point you need to know that Dewitte's probation officer had told him "to find gainful work in a field other than security." Then...on May 7, 2001 someone told Dewitte's probation officer that the convicted felon was in possession of a firearm. Who reported him? Why, one of the people that had hired him... to work as a security guard.

Through his company "Dewitte Security." Genius. The next day a warrant was issued and Dewitte was arrested, somehow managing to pick up new charges too. This is how it went down: "On 5/8/01, the arresting officer responded to 1017 S. Kirkman Road, Apt. XX, to make contact with the defendant, who had an active capias for VOP. The arresting officer made phone contact with the defendant who advised that he was enroute. The defendant pulled up in a blue four door Chevy Lumina with dark tint. As the defendant opened the driver's door the officer heard a police scanner with OPD dispatching. The defendant had the scanner hooked up next to the driver's seat. The officer heard OPD units from the Southwest sector being dispatched to calls. Further inspection of the vehicle by the arresting officer, along with assisting officers, revealed white blinking lights mounted in the rear window and side wing windows. Also mounted in the windshield, were more lights behind the tinted strip, which when lit shined flashing blue." On 10/8/01 Dewitte's probation morphed into a one-year sentence in Orange County Jail. And you still don't even know about Dewitte's first arrest.
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You know, when he pretended to be a cop in order to steal $14 of gas from a Mobil. The full story is at Shifting gears: The body-worn camera footage in this video was obtained through a Florida Public Records Act request. I had asked for a complete and unedited original-resolution electronic copy of all video records retrieved from Dewitte's body camera (which had been seized), but at the time the request was submitted the sheriff's office was not legally required to release those records - and they didn't. Instead, they voluntarily released most of the footage in this video. It's important to recognize that their editing decisions are intended to paint a particular picture of Dewitte, and they raise obvious questions about what was omitted.

I did not want to wait any longer before sharing this footage with you, but I want you to know that we are nowhere near done with this story and that we will soon have all of the body camera footage — and much more — from this and other Dewitte cases. You can expect an update then. A closing comment: I have hundreds of pages of records from Dewitte's previous court cases, including the one that made him a registered sex offender.

Other news outlets have reported on Dewitte's arrest using sensational "Sex Offender Arrested For Impersonating..." headlines, and - frankly - I am disappointed. It takes work to get information on a sex crime case, but if you are going to run headlines highlighting that someone is a "sex offender," you should know something about the case's gravity. Notwithstanding the legal impossibility of this, Dewitte had consensual sex with a young woman who was not legally old enough to consent. The victim didn't want Dewitte to receive a long sentence and neither did her parents. I question the ethics of running unqualified "Sex Offender Arrested!" headlines in reference to such a case. (Dewitte ended up having to serve four years for violating the terms of his probation, but that's a whole other story.)

 *Because of the case's age, some records were not readily available. They have been requested and all fees have been paid; the records should show up... one of these days.

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