HOMESTEAD — An off-duty rookie police officer who allegedly pulled her department-issued gun on her boyfriend following an argument at a Super Bowl party will be terminated, according to sources.
“She will be fired,” said one city hall source close to the situation who requested anonymity. “The paperwork could be completed in a few days.”
The Internal Affairs investigation centers on Jenna Maldonado, 28, a reserve officer with the Homestead Police Department. Maldonado is the daughter of former Homestead Mayor Lynda Bell, who was defeated in the 2009 elections.
The Miami-Dade Police Department is also conducting a criminal investigation into the allegations, a spokesman confirmed on Feb. 16.
“I made contact with our Domestic Crimes Bureau who is now in possession of the case, and they are advising me that this is an ‘Active Criminal Investigation’ and are not at liberty yet to release any information on the case,’’ Robert E. Williams, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade Police Department, wrote in an email on Tuesday to the South Florida Times.
Maldonado was hired into the city’s Reserve Police Officer Program on Nov. 18, 2009. The program pays a $1 annual salary, and officers work part-time hours to obtain experience. Reserve officers are also allowed to work off-duty details for private companies, which pay them through the police union.
Maldonado is currently serving a 1-year probationary period, and can be fired at any time.
Homestead police suspended Maldonado on Feb, 10, according to internal documents obtained by the South Florida Times.
“Effective immediately, you are suspended from the Homestead Police Reserve Officer Program reference an Internal Affairs investigation,” wrote Internal Affairs Lt. Tony Sincore. “During this investigation, you are prohibited from coming to the police station unless requested by Internal Affairs or the Office of the Chief of Police.
In addition during this investigation, you are not allowed to work any off-duty police details or participate in any reserve officer functions or act in any manner of a Homestead Police Officer. You are required to turn in your duty pistol, magazines, bullets, police identification cards and back door electronic key.”
A police department spokesperson also confirmed the investigation.
“It is an IA [Homestead Police Internal Affairs] investigation that is ongoing and she is on suspension from the Reserve Officer Program,” Homestead Police Department spokesman Capt. Ed Bowe said last week. “The Miami-Dade Police Department’s Domestic Violence Division is conducting the criminal investigation, and will decide on any charges, or referral to the State Attorney.”
According to several sources close to the investigation, the incident happened on Sunday, Feb. 7 during a Super Bowl party in the unincorporated Redlands area of Miami-Dade County. Maldonado, who was off duty, arrived at the party and confronted a person there identified only as “Steve,” and the two got into a heated argument, sources said.
“Steve” is described as Maldonado’s boyfriend. The disagreement was reportedly over the boyfriend’s failure to babysit, and it escalated to the point at which Maldonado allegedly threatened her boyfriend with her department-issued service weapon, sources said.
Efforts to reach Maldonado through the Police Department and her Facebook page have been unsuccessful.
Though sources say over a dozen people reportedly witnessed the incident, Miami-Dade Police, who patrol the area, were never called. The next day, the boyfriend contacted Maldonado’s employer, the Homestead Police Department, and reported the incident.
Bowe said Homestead police contacted the Miami-Dade Police Department because the incident happened in Miami-Dade’s jurisdiction.
The boyfriend provided a detailed, written statement to Homestead police. A number of other witnesses provided verbal statements to Homestead police, according to sources, but some backed out when asked to put those statements into writing.
Photo: Jenna Maldonado