DAYTONA BEACH -- In the dog days of summer following the blitzkrieg of national sex headlines initially fed to the Orlando TV cameras by none other than Michael Chitwood, then-former Sgt. Penny Dane was getting calls from the women of ABC's "The View" to appear on the popular daytime show and lucrative offers from the likes of Penthouse magazine.
Dane, 46, a cop with long black hair, an angelic face and a killer body, was fodder for Chitwood's woefully unsubstantiated claims that had her in as many as 270 porno shots online.
Penny Vollenbroek Dane, the middle name her maiden name, was held up for ridicule on a national scale unlike any other cop before her who has patrolled the mean streets of Daytona the local press often ignores in favor of the branding of "The World's Most Famous Beach" and arguably the greatest race track in Daytona International Speedway and its signature Daytona 500. That is until Chitwood rears his ugly head, figuratively speaking, with a gigantic tale of woe that doesn't quite turn out that way. The story of Penny Dane is Chitwood's M.O.
Flash back to mid-August and here was Chitwood hopping from camera to camera to let the world know that never in all his years of policing had he come across a female porn fiend in his ranks -- her bare assets splashed on the internet with racy talk to boot with a cyber lover.
In all, Chitwood claimed there were literally dozens of nude and semi-nude photos of Dane -- breasts, thighs, buns and hints of something more. In reality, there were half a dozen semi-nude photos at most, and that's stretching it in terms of appealing to prurient interests. And Chitwoods's claim that she was in uniform in semi-nude state of dress was actually photos emailed to the cop shop after Dane was gone nearly a month before the story broke in mid-August.
Headline Surfer knows firsthand because of the hundreds of media reports that mushroomed from a single TV report that started with Channel 9's WFTV-Orlando, the 24/7 internet newspaper was the only media outlet to demand the photos (copied) and turned over. But that didn't stop what was exaggerated and exploited by Chitwood before even more Orlando TV cameras -- Chennel 2 WESH, Channel 6 WKMG, FOX 35, Central Florida News 13, Channel 26.1 WVEN (Univision). These then spread to their sistaer affiliates throughout the Sunshine State and across the country, the further away geographically, the facts more blurred.
Then there was the print media, esopecially the Daytona Beach News-Journal where what Chitwood says goes into print with little exception. There were two newspaper outlets Chitwood didn't deal with at all, Headline Surfer, the internet-only outlet, -- par for thecourse -- and the New York Daily News, the latter jumping into it when City Manager Jim Chisholm was doing his best to reign him in.
In fact, a week or so after the sensationalism died down, Chisholm actually appeared with Chitwood and his regular slot on WNDB's "The Marc Bernier Show" with the city manager doing most of the talking.
What crushed Dane's spirit even more than the grossly exaggerated porno label was Chitwood angrily feeding into the camera his
What hurt Dane more than anything was not the porn itself as much as the tone in which Chitwood clenched his jaw, telling local press, he would personally see to it that Dane was permanently stripped of her Florida Department of Law Enforcement license should she try and rescuscitate her career elsewhere down the road. the Marc Bernier Show for his usual segment
What hurt Dane almost as much as her being portrayed as on-line sex vixen with big boobs, a gun and badge with handcuffs and iron bars was how easily Chitwood dismissed her to the media when he defiantly told reporters he'd personally see to it that she never works in law enforcement again. Then as the story literally shot around the world through the power of the internet with a newspaper in Ghana reporting on it, Chitwood appeared on his usual segment with WNDB's Marc Bernier, but Chisholm was with him and doing most of the talking. But gone for the most part was Chitwood's harsh acidic tone, offering of Dane, "I think she did a good job for me when she was a cop," but added, "she was a piece of work, or her progress as a sergeant, that was a Freudian slip probably. The sad thing about the whole thing is she has two young kids... She's not an evil person."
Headline Surfer video / Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood appears on The Marc Bernier Show on WNDB, accompanied by City Manager Jim Chisholm as heard in this audio recording to talk about the resignation of Sgt. Penny Dane, who he claimed used city computers to send dozens of nude photos of herself and other porographic images via city computers while on duty and chatting with a cyber lover.