The Broward Sheriff’s Office is investigating whether a deputy blurred the line between his official duties and his private business. 7’s Brian Entin has the exclusive details in tonight’s 7 Investigates.
This is BSO Deputy Andre Silva, armed and in uniform, but the picture is not from a BSO website.
It’s from the Instagram page for the deputy’s security business, Safe Command, that has more than 52,000 followers.
Chet Epperson, law enforcement expert: “I do see some very disturbing posts, very disturbing information that’s on there.”
Silva’s social media accounts had a number of posts of him in uniform, plus a picture showing his bulletproof vest, a BSO patrol car and a hat with a logo from a firearm accessories company.
Some of the posts have since been removed.
Deputy Silva now finds himself the focus of an internal affairs investigation involving his side job.
We showed the material to former police chief and law enforcement expert Chet Epperson.
Chet Epperson: “Anything that’s associated with Broward County cannot be used for private purposes. It’s just wrong.”
A YouTube video promoting Silva’s company had nearly 6,000 views before it was taken down. Silva is seen driving in plain clothes and describing in Portuguese what to do if you’re pulled over by police.
Suddenly, lights and sirens of a BSO vehicle appear in the staged traffic stop, complete with a deputy in uniform approaching Silva’s car.
Deputy: “Can I have your license, registration, proof of insurance, please?”
Andre Silva: “Yes, sir. Just give me one second please. It’s in the glove box. Can I reach for it?”
Deputy: “Yes, sir. Do you have any weapons in the vehicle?”
Andre Silva: “No weapons.”
But promoting his business did not end there.
7News obtained an email chain from earlier this month, when Silva reached out to a Pennsylvania-based gun manufacturer.
From his private email account, Silva starts by saying he’s a “deputy sheriff in Broward County, FL” and does product reviews. He asks to be sponsored by the firearm company: “In exchange, I’ll use your product and advertise and endorse your products on IG and YouTube. Also would like to offer your product to co-workers at my sheriff’s department.”
Silva says he has “great influence” in South America and can help connect the company with an exporter: “This can be a good opportunity for your product to reach Brazil.”
In this email, a company employee asks that Silva be vetted, writing: “Any time I hear Broward County, I think corruption. Terrible to say, but truth. If he appears to be one of the good guys, this might be a good partnership.”
Chet Epperson: “So he’s using Broward County, and his law enforcement capacity, for power –‘this is who I am,’ his position — to gain something. There’s nothing wrong with purchasing guns as a private person, just didn’t need to use his position of power.”
BSO tells us Deputy Silva did not submit a request for off-duty employment. They’re also investigating whether he violated BSO’s social media policy and if he abused his official position.
Deputy Andre Silva has been with BSO for more than two years, and the agency says he remains on patrol during the internal affairs investigation.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association tells 7News they cannot comment on the deputy’s open case, but in a statement, President Jeff Bell said:
“Deputy Silva is one of our Union members and is currently being represented by the Union. Unfortunately, we cannot comment about the case because it is still active. The Union has always recognized in the past that sometimes employees make mistakes. The Union only seeks fair and equal discipline for our members and not a far more severe punishment than a command staff member would receive for the same violation.”