Jacksonville officer won’t be fired over gun left on school playground

Officer left gun on ground while retrieving soccer ball for elementary school students

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Civil Service Board has ruled against the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office’s recommendation of firing an officer who left his firearm and stun gun on a school playground.

News4Jax learned late Thursday that Officer Daniel Ziegler was given a 90-day suspension and a written reprimand.

Ziegler was terminated in October after an internal investigation sustained multiple complaints stemming from the incident in May. He was taken off the streets and was placed on desk duty, but on Thursday he went before the Civil Service Board to appeal his firing.

Neither Ziegler nor his attorney wished to comment for this story. But his attorney told the panel on Thursday that even though his client demonstrated poor judgment, the punishment is too severe.

Ziegler was working in May as a group of children played soccer on the playground outside the school. When the ball went over the fence, Ziegler removed his service belt – along with his firearm and stun gun – so he could climb over to retrieve it. But a trench kept him from climbing back over.

The officer had to walk roughly a mile to get back and collect his service weapons. An adult noticed the weapons on the ground and grew concerned. The school was briefly locked down, but no one was hurt.

An internal investigation supported allegations of unbecoming conduct, failure to conform to work standards and a secondary employment violation.

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