Dale Engle, the longtime police chief of Davie, Florida, has announced his resignation after 22 years as a cop. This decision comes just a few months after he allegedly pinned the COVID-19 death of a local deputy who was gay on that deputy's lifestyle.
Engle's retirement will begin on September 3. In the meantime he won't be working but he'll still be paid.
Back in April, the chief made national headlines after he was accused by a police union of pinning the aforementioned deputy's death on his sexuality. The situation that led to this topic coming up is said to have come when some officers complained about the lack of safety precautions being taken in response to the pandemic. What is alleged to have happened next prompted an investigation that also resulted in Engle being put on leave.
Details of that investigation haven't been published yet, but they're expected soon.
In April, Engle was placed on administrative leave as the city investigated claims made in a letter from the Fraternal Order of Police to Davie’s town manager, detailing an incident after officers expressed concerns about their protection from coronavirus while on the job.
The letter said Engle “chose to instead retaliate against our members ... ordering them to the parking lot and into formation (like cadets back in the patrol academy).” It also said that Engle allegedly berated them and said that BSO Deputy Shannon Bennett contracted and died from the virus because he was a “homosexual who attended homosexual ‘sexual’ events.”
The deceased, Shannon Bennett, was a resource officer at a local elementary school, and was also the first law enforcement officer in the state whose death was attributed to the disease.
Bennett had been in Chicago for a St. Patrick's Day celebration with friends and his fiancé just days before falling ill.
On Monday night, Engle denied that he had done what he's accused of in a comment to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. He was quoted as saying "I maintain my innocence."
He added that the city did not pressure him to leave the job, but that he made the decision to do so because of the angry social media reactions directed at his teenage children as a result of the original story being published.
He also wrote about his resignation in a letter to staff.
“To say that I have been privileged to proudly serve this Town is an understatement,” he said in that letter. “I will cherish the past two plus decades of life and work experiences that have helped define my character, life purpose and ultimately developed me into who I am today. I have been fortunate to have been a member of one of the noblest of professions and have nothing but respect for the pride and professionalism that everyone within the Town of Davie demonstrates every day.”