A Florida police chief who dropped by a pool party last summer and took a photo with bikini-clad subordinates is in hot water with city officials, despite an independent probe that found no wrongdoing.
Coral Gables Police Chief Edward Hudak attended a pool party in July at the home of public information officer Kelly Denham in Homestead after getting an invite from someone there. Hudak was then asked to take a picture, which he did after clearing it with the female cops, the Miami Herald reports.
The photo – which depicts a total of 14 officers alongside Hudak, including several in revealing bikinis – was later posted to Instagram, where user dmannow25 said Hudak could be seen spending some “quality time” with his employees.
“As you can see, he is in full uniform at a female only party in which sex toy (female in front of chief) are being handed out to party goers,” the Aug. 3 post read. “As brand new female officers we had no idea he was going to show up. In videos that are to follow, you will hear the disgust and embarrassment from people at the party as we are being visually raped by our boss.”
City officials launched an investigation into the photo after receiving an anonymous letter alleging the female officers were harassed during the party. That probe by an independent investigator recently concluded and found no formal violations by Hudak, according to the Miami Herald.
The 93-page report also debunked allegations that sex toys were on hand at the pool party, noting that an object held by one of the officers was, in fact, a blue plastic water gun.
“Upon close examination of the entire photograph, there is no discernible ‘dildo’ or other sex toy depicted,” according to the report by Charles Skurkis, a former Pennsylvania State Police commander who now runs an independent consulting firm.
Skurkis said he “failed to identify any conduct” at the pool party specifically banned by Coral Gables Police Department rules and regulations, but acknowledged that the decision to pose for the photo was questionable.
“An individual while serving in the capacity of Police Chief must remain cognizant, at all times, that his or her conduct may be closely scrutinized by subordinates, the media, and the citizens they serve, regardless of acting in an official capacity or otherwise,” Skurkis wrote.
The report prompted Coral Gables City Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark to issue a six-page letter of reprimand indicating her concerns about the chief’s ability to “honorably and objectively” head the department. Swanson-Roverbark also questioned Hudak’s decision to not reprimand one of the officers for driving her city-issued vehicle to the pool party, the Herald reports.
“Failure to take the necessary corrective actions laid out for you in the reprimand and failure to consistently practice more professional and mature judgment moving forward will result in further disciplinary action, including termination,” Swanson-Rivenbark wrote in the letter two weeks ago.
Hudak’s attorney, Michael Cornely, told The Post on Thursday that none of the female officers had a problem with his presence at the party. The 28-year law enforcement veteran has no intention of stepping down, Cornely said.
“We disagree with her comments,” Hudak said of Swanson-Rivenbark. “We are looking into avenues to maintain his good name and reputation.”
Cornely said he was unhappy how the story was “being spun in the media” and how the photo has grown into a “much larger thing” than it should, claiming whoever wrote the anonymous letter must have a personal beef against Hudak.
“The chief must have someone who does not care for him and therefore is using this as their bully pulpit to bring dishonor upon a well-decorated law enforcement officer,” Cornely told The Post. “We’re digging into that.”
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