Top secret police operations posted on city of West Palm Beach w - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Top secret police operations posted on city of West Palm Beach website

picture by WPB.ORG picture by WPB.ORG

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A scheduled drug buy in Jupiter, a secret gambling operation with the feds and the identities of confidential informants: It's not the kind of information that should ever be made public.  

But it was.

For at least three days last week, the handful of emails were available for anyone to download on the city's new  "#tranparency" web page.  The city has taken the emails down and leaders are now in full damage control.

The emails were posted on the web page as part of the city's most recent online effort to be transparent with the media.  It was an idea initiated by city spokesperson Elliot Cohen, who is notorious for keeping a tight rope on information relayed to the media.  Cohen started the web page shortly after he was called out for inaccurately telling the media how the city's troubled surveillance cameras work. 

The emails were part of the city's response to a recent public records request by Contact 5 Investigator Katie LaGrone who requested emails pertaining to the city's  surveillance system.

In response to LaGrone's request, Cohen made available more than 2,000 emails.  Among them, an email describing an upcoming drug buy involving a Jupiter business man.  The email names local officers and deputies involved in the sting as well as DEA agents.

Another email names several ongoing sting operations being handled by the city's police department including the names of officers involved in those operations.

WFLX FOX 29 has decided not to post any of the emails in an effort not to compromise any sensitive law enforcement information.

"We are concerned with the safety of our officers," said Sgt. Dave Lefont from West Palm Beach Police Department in response to the email leak.

Police leaders and city staff are scheduled to meet Tuesday morning to discuss "the process of fulfilling public records request," said City Administrator Jeff Green, who spoke to the Contact 5 Investigators by phone on Monday. 

"I am horrified, I'm mortified," said West Palm Beach City Commissioner Paula Ryan in response to the emails being made public.

Elliot Cohen did not texts and calls for comment today or on Friday.  Mayor Jeri Muoio has also not responded to requests for comment.

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