Reported by the Tallahassee Democrat:
The supervisors and lead officer in the botched drug sting that ended in informant Rachel Hoffman's death have been placed on administrative leave with pay by the Tallahassee Police Department.The five officers were placed on leave Monday and will remain so until a department internal-affairs investigation into Hoffman's death is complete, Police Chief Dennis Jones said Tuesday afternoon.
TPD spokesman David McCranie said the officers are Capt. Chris Connell; Lt. Taltha White; Sgt. Rod Looney; Sgt. David Odom; and Investigator Ryan Pender.
Jones made the decision Monday after receiving the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's evidence from the Hoffman case and reviewing the grand jury's findings, McCranie said.
Jones also doubled the number of internal-affairs officers assigned to the case from the normal three to six, to speed up the investigation.
Connell and White headed the vice unit until June 7. That's when Police Chief Dennis Jones moved the unit under Criminal Investigations Division Capt. David Hendry. At that time, Lt. Joani Chase was made vice supervisor and White was reassigned as a supervisor in the Administrative Services Division.
In its presentment last week that cited police negligence in Hoffman's death, a Leon County grand jury reported the vice lieutenant — White — signed off on the flawed buy-bust plan but didn't actually read it. Grand jurors also said she was in charge of monitoring radio transmissions during the deal but was conducting a computer audit at the same and was distracted.
"We believe the command staff was negligent in its review of the (operation) plan and supervision of the transaction," grand jurors wrote. "With the exception of the sergeant who remained active in making decisions as matters developed during the transaction, the level of supervision was nonexistent."There is a funny thing about internal investigations. There is a bias. It can not be helped. It is conducted by people who have relationships with the people that are being investigated. There is a vested interest in presenting what occurred as being addressed when in fact there is no guarantee that "cover up " is not occurring.
That is why the Chief needs to step down and the Governor needs to appoint an interim chief who has no concerns about keeping his/her job. One who is totally impartial and dedicated to obtaining the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
I have a brother in law in the Navy who has had a number of ships under his command. He will be the first to state that when something goes wrong on the ship, he as Captain is ultimately responsible. As a Navy Captain of a war ship it is his responsibility to spot problems before they occur. To instill in his men importance of their jobs, the necessity to follow SOP's/commands/rules. To keep lines of communications open. Their lives and reputations depend on it.
The TPD Chief to date has failed to do the honorable thing, accept responsibility for the actions of a significant number of individuals under his command and step down.
Of course my brother in law, although would make the right choice, would actually have no choice. As the Captain of a war ship, failure to run a "tight" ship would result in his command being taken away from him.
CHIEF JONES, what were you doing while your officers were running rogue operations? Why did you not know what was going on in your own department? Have the officers of your department learned that there is no need to keep their commander in the "loop"? And if so, how did that situation come about? RESIGN NOW CHIEF JONES!Add to Technorati Favorites