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Veteran Miami Cop Hauls Mattresses on Top of Patrol Car

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By Andrew Chow, Esq. on March 08, 2012 4:58 AM

A veteran Miami-Dade police officer made her bed, so to speak, and is now lying in it, after she allegedly misused her marked patrol car to transport two mattresses.

Officer Sandra Lyles, a 32-year veteran of the force, is set to retire Monday, the Associated Press reports. Meantime, Lyles has been relieved of duty -- with pay -- while an internal investigation gets underway.

Alert citizens spotted Lyles loading two mattresses atop her police cruiser at a Big Lots store, and then driving away. The citizens took photos and videos, and shared them with local TV stations.

Miami-Dade police officers are allowed to use their patrol cars to run personal errands within Miami-Dade County, if the officer lives in the county, WPLG reports. The policy allows off-duty cops like Officer Sandra Lyles to spring into action if they spot a crime.

But Lyles' mattress-hauling falls outside the scope of the personal-use allowance, a police spokeswoman said. Along with mattresses, "there are other items we cannot transport -- animals to veterinarians, children to school," the spokeswoman told WPLG.

Because Lyles violated police policy, she had to give up her patrol car, badge, and gun while the incident is investigated, WPLG reports.

Lyles has a lengthy personnel record, which shows she's been disciplined 19 times over three decades with the department. Lyles was suspended twice for patrol-car crashes that were deemed "preventable," WPLG reports.

Miami-Dade police officer Sandra Lyles has also been disciplined for parking a police vehicle in a handicap space, and conducting private business on the job, according to WPLG. Lyles' mattress-hauling incident will not affect her retirement, police said.

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