The Chief of Police of Miami Gardens, Florida was arrested last night for soliciting a prostitute and was fired moments later. Chief Stephen E. Johnson (53) was arrested in a hotel in Dania Beach after he responded to a sex ad saying he was willing to have “do everything” sex with two girls for $100.00; according to the Sun Sentinel, Johnson requested that the undercover detective where heels to satisfy a fetish. The arrest resulted from a sting operation conducted by the Broward County Sheriff’s Department where the decoy made arrangements for Johnson to meet the girls at the hotel where he gave the girl $100.00; the incident was captured on video according to the Sun Sentinel. Johnson had a long career in law enforcement having served as North Miami Chief of Police for 25 years before this job. He pleaded” no contest” and was sentenced to probation and a $5,000 fine.

COMMENT: Although arresting prostitutes and their customers are often the focus of police departments, the benefits gained from such arrests are minimal, and the costs for policing them are hefty. Moreover, when the police step up the arrests, often through sleazy sting operations, prostitutes are driven underground and often find themselves taking risks and getting themselves killed. There are few benefits to criminalizing prostitution, but the practice is so ingrained in religious beliefs that it is hard for politicians to support legalization of prostitution. It is not that police officers, judges, lawyers, doctors, priests, ministers, business leaders and everyday folk do not use the services of prostitutes- they do- men and women. Instead, it is a question of hypocrisy and mystical religious (ironically) dogma.

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