CRESCENT CITY, Fla. – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s investigation into the Crescent City Police Department is complete, and News4Jax has obtained a copy of the audit.
Back in December, the entire department was placed on administrative leave, and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office took over.
According to the FDLE audit, three of the five officers on the Police Department’s force either needed to be retrained and certified in some areas of their jobs or their certifications need to be updated. It also revealed none of the officers had training for the use of Tasers.
In the report, the FDLE recommends one of the officers be fired because he didn’t complete mandatory training. The audit also revealed that training documents were never found for another officer, meaning that officer needs to be retrained. The report found a third officer’s certifications expired more than a year ago.
News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson once served on the accreditation unit for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. He read the FDLE report and said the results are shocking.
“There was total disregard of the accreditation process, the training and retraining requirements,” Jefferson said. “There were no secondary documents to support anything. I’m surprised they didn’t come down on them any sooner than they did.”
Jefferson says this creates credibility problems for the entire department.
“It’s the equivalent of having citizens with guns and badges, not really knowing the laws and not really being able to enforce them,” Jefferson said.
Randy Reep, a Jacksonville defense attorney, said the credibility problem could potentially impact pending cases involving individuals who were arrested by the officers.
“When you have an officer that hasn’t fulfilled their training or would not be able to testify as to the quality of their training or the completion of their training, that is going to make the prosecution of those cases much more difficult,” Reep said.
Because only two officers were in compliance, FDLE recommended they not come back to work until the other officers were in compliance because two people can’t be the entire police force.
However, that may not matter if the City Council decides to abolish the department and allow the Sheriff’s Office to take over permanently. During a meeting Thursday night, the council voted 4-1 in favor of abolishing. There will be one more reading of the proposed ordinance at next month’s council meeting.