That criticism is misguided. The investigation raised important questions—and not just about Sunrise. All law enforcement agencies have an incentive to make a profit on drug busts, especially in “reverse stings” like the ones Sunrise was conducting. And even if you don’t give much weight to civil liberties concerns, and view the department’s motivations in the most charitable light, it’s appropriate for members of the community to know about—and have an opportunity to debate—the extraordinary tactics used by local police. Without oversight, things can go awry—as seems to have happened at other departments.

The Sun Sentinel’s work here was detailed, comprehensive, thoughtful, and compelling. It was a big journalistic result after a big investment of resources—exactly what the paper’s editor says he wants to see.

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Susannah Nesmith is a Miami-based freelance writer and the faculty adviser to Barry University's student newspaper, The Barry Buccaneer. Follow her on Twitter @susannahnesmith.