Miami Police Chief Reprimanded, Fined Over Free Use of Luxury SUV for More Than a Year

Miami's top police official was docked a week's pay, fined $500 plus administrative costs and given a written reprimand Thursday over his free use of a luxury sport utility vehicle for more than a year.

Police Chief John Timoney should have disclosed on ethics forms that the SUV was a gift after he was approached in June 2006 by a dealership about taking a "test drive" that lasted until August 2007, the Miami-Dade County Ethics Commission wrote in the reprimand.

The dealership, which does not do business with the city, also picked up the insurance costs. Hiding such an arrangement "violates the trust between public officials and the citizenry they serve," the letter said.

Timoney said in a statement that he would abide by the commission's decision, but insisted he was not guilty of misusing his position or corruption.

"It is now time to move on and put this episode behind us," Timoney said.

Timoney eventually paid the full $54,000 sticker price for the Lexus RX Hybrid SUV. In addition to the fine and reprimand, Timoney must pay $342 in administrative costs.

Miami city officials later announced that Timoney would be docked a week's salary, which comes to more than $4,300.

The incident triggered a no-confidence vote in September by the Fraternal Order of Police, which called for the chief's ouster. But Miami city officials have stood by Timoney, who was previously a top police official in Philadelphia and New York and is generally credited with improving the Miami department.