JSO officer accused of soliciting prostitute

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office turned in his resignation after being charged with soliciting a prostitute.

"I am here to talk to you about the investigation that we just completed that resulted in the arrest of one of our employees," JSO Undersheriff Dwain Senterfitt said at a news conference Tuesday night. "We arrested a police officer earlier tonight. His name is David Sumlin. He came to us in 2004. He's been with us for about eight years."

Police said 49-year-old Sumlin was arrested on two counts of soliciting for prostitution while on duty working in patrol. He was being held in the Duval County jail with bail set at $5,000.

"Most of you probably know we have a unit here we call our integrity unit. They conduct investigations into allegations into criminal misconduct against members of our agency," said Senterfitt.

Senterfitt explained that the Sheriff's Office received tips that Sumlin was involved in activity with known prostitutes in the Jacksonville area. Senterfitt said a known prostitute was identified and helped JSO with its investigation.

"She made contact with him, they had conversation. During that conversation, the officer told her that he wanted sex, that he would meet with her later in the night," said Senterfitt. "Last night we put her out there again and again when she made contact with the officer. They talked about various sex acts he was interested in. This time after some negotiations on the price, he agreed to $20. He said that he had to go to call first, but that he would be right back."

Police said there was no reason to believe that anything happened inside the officer's vehicle.

"She says they have never engaged in sexual activity but that there has been conversation about it," said Senterfitt. "We intend to prosecute. We have already been in contact with the state attorney's office."

Channel 4 Crime and Safety Analyst Ken Jefferson said this officer not only broke the law, he broke the law enforcement code of ethics.

"This officer put himself in this position by breaking the law, willingly and knowingly, and not being coerced to do so," Jefferson said. "He didn't know these prostitutes have contacts sometimes within the Sheriff's Office. They help the officers solve various crimes in the area. Even aside from all that, he should never have compromised himself or put himself in that position."

There are tapes of the conversations between Sumlin and the prostitute, but those are under investigation and are not being released to the media at this time.

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