Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Accused St. Petersburg detective resigns

ST. PETERSBURG — The allegations made against the 16-year veteran officer were startling: Detective Leticia Harrison accompanied her husband out of town to obtain marijuana so she could use her badge to shield him from her fellow officers.

So the St. Petersburg Police Department started investigating one of its own.

Officers did not substantiate the drug allegations — but what they did find out about one of their own cost Harrison her job.

While under surveillance, Harrison's fellow officers said she was speeding in her police cruiser, parking in handicapped spots, using her emergency lights to get to lunch, associating with criminals and living with a gun-toting, drug-using felon.

Harrison, a 36-year-old mother of three, resigned Thursday before her superiors could fire her.

"It's about time she's no longer working for the police force," said Assistant State Attorney Bill Loughery, who helped investigate the officer.

But did the Police Department have enough evidence to fire Harrison months ago?

• • •

Harrison was never implicated in the drug allegations that led her estranged husband, Marvin Wedderburn, to be charged with 10 counts of marijuana possession in June.

Husband and wife both denied she ever helped him obtain drugs.

But the investigation into Harrison continued. Police learned she was living with and dating an old high school boyfriend: Audra Brown, who did time in prison and was convicted of a 1993 armed robbery.

Investigators searched Harrison's home on June 4, according to a report, and found a small bag of marijuana and a .38-caliber gun.

Harrison said the gun belonged to Howard, according to a report, and that she knew he had it. But the officer should have known her boyfriend was breaking the law: Felons can't have firearms.

Harrison was suspended with pay in July while prosecutors and detectives investigated her.

The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office decided there wasn't enough evidence to prosecute Harrison for being a principal to a felon in possession of a firearm.

• • •

Was what the department uncovered in June enough to fire Harrison on the spot?

Police Chief Charles "Chuck" Harmon said no to that question on Thursday.

He said the department had to let the process take its course. Criminal investigations into Harrison and others had to end, the chief said, before the department could finish its internal investigation. It also had to respect her rights as an officer, Harmon said.

Before her case was heard Thursday by a chain-of-command board, Harrison spoke up, the chief said.

"She was apologetic for hanging around the wrong people," Harmon said. But it was far too late.

"Had she not resigned," the chief said, "she would have been terminated."

Researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Jamal Thalji can be reached at or (727) 893-8472.

Accused St. Petersburg detective resigns 11/13/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 20, 2008 6:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Nearly 40 hospitalized on first day of Sunset Music Festival, on pace to exceed last year


    To reduce the number of medical emergencies this year, sponsors of the Sunset Music Festival promised heightened security and safety measures during this weekend's event at Raymond James Stadium.

    Thousands of people crowd the main stage at the Sunset Music Festival on Saturday in the north Raymond James Stadium parking area. The temperature at the time of the photo was 92 degrees. [LUIS SANTANA   |   Times]
  2. Woman killed in overnight Temple Terrace apartment fire, city says


    TEMPLE TERRACE — A woman died early Sunday as a result of a fire at an apartment complex, city officials said.

  3. Video: Indianapolis 500 drivers in fiery crash somehow walk away uninjured

    Auto racing

    Scott Dixon and Jay Howard avoided injury in a spectacular crash - or what Dixon labeled "a wild ride" afterward - during the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.

  4. Homeland security chief defends Kushner's alleged proposal for 'back channel' to the Russians as 'a good thing"


    Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, the lone administration official to speak out publicly about reports that Jared Kushner sought a back channel to communicate with the Russian government, defended the move, saying it was a "good thing" for the U.S. government.

    Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, listens during a meeting with small business leaders at the White House on Jan. 30. [Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford]
  5. After hard charging on health care in 2016, Marco Rubio is slow, careful


    As a presidential candidate, Marco Rubio pitched an Obamacare replacement and tore into Donald Trump for not having one. "What is your plan? What is your plan on health care? You don't have a plan," the Florida senator aggressively challenged in a February 2016 debate.