Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Public safety

Clearwater officers reprimanded for failing to report colleague suspected of DUI

RECOMMENDED READING


CLEARWATER — Two police sergeants accused this winter of driving home a colleague suspected of driving drunk and failing to report the incident to superiors will receive written reprimands instead of suspensions.

The Clearwater Police Department's command staff had recommended one-day suspensions for Sgts. David Young and Sean Allaster, pending a review by the city's human resources department.

Human resources director Joe Roseto, City Manager Bill Horne and police Chief Tony Holloway decided Friday that letters of reprimand were more appropriate, given the officers' lengthy histories of 24 years on the force without prior disciplinary action, said city spokeswoman Joelle Castelli.

The penalty includes a two-year ban on promotions, transfers or special assignments for the pair, she said.

The disciplinary action stems from a Jan. 23 incident in which police received multiple calls about a drunken driver stumbling out of the Brown Boxer Pub & Grille on Clearwater Beach, then later swerving on Clearwater Memorial Causeway and nearly hitting a taxi.

Internal affairs records say Young and Allaster pulled over the motorist, off-duty Clearwater Officer Nicholas Capogna. They did not conduct a field sobriety test, which are currently left to the discretion of officers who sometimes opt to call cabs for impaired drivers.

As a result of the "mistakes" in this case, Holloway said last week, he is drafting a policy requiring officers to conduct sobriety tests on all suspected drunk motorists and report any city employees they stop for impaired driving.

Castelli said city leaders upheld the five-day suspension recommended for Capogna, who was hired in 2008 and had previously been investigated for damaging his patrol car. Capogna's punishment also will require random drug and alcohol testing for an unspecified period, counseling and revoked use of his take-home patrol car for a year.

Keyonna Summers can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4153. To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

Comments
Tampa husband gets life, wife 40 years for sexual assault on 7-year-old

Tampa husband gets life, wife 40 years for sexual assault on 7-year-old

TAMPA — The mother of a 7-year-old girl stood weeping in a federal courtroom, demanding life-long prison sentences for the Tampa couple who sexually assaulted her daughter while the girl’s own father took videos and pictures. "I don’t want my child t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Details emerge in suicide of Hernando school volunteer accused of sexual abuse

Details emerge in suicide of Hernando school volunteer accused of sexual abuse

A former Brooksville school volunteer accused of sexually assaulting teenage foreign exchange students who were under his care was found dead last week, a day before he was due in court on the charges.The body of Bruce McAllister was found at the bas...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Fire sends smoke through roof of Brass Flamingo adult club in Port Richey

Fire sends smoke through roof of Brass Flamingo adult club in Port Richey

PORT RICHEY — Crews from Pasco County fire rescue were battling a fire Wednesday morning that sent smoke pouring through the roof at the Brass Flamingo adult club, 9034 U.S. 19.The fire forced the closing of U.S. 19 but traffic was flowing again by 6...
Published: 11/22/17
Mountains beckon, but family sticks with beleaguered Seminole Heights for Thanksgiving this year

Mountains beckon, but family sticks with beleaguered Seminole Heights for Thanksgiving this year

TAMPA — Before the killings began, Bob and Vivian Fiallo envisioned having Thanksgiving at their North Carolina mountain getaway.Most years, the couple spends the holiday at their tidy, brick-faced home on North Olney Avenue, in the heart of Southeas...
Published: 11/22/17
Report: Pepin Academies director had alcohol in his system at time of fatal boating accident

Report: Pepin Academies director had alcohol in his system at time of fatal boating accident

CLEARWATER — The former Pepin Academies executive director who died in a watercraft and boat collision on Sept. 23 had a blood-alcohol level nearly twice the level at which the state presumes someone is impaired, a toxicology report showed. Just befo...
Published: 11/21/17
Pasco Deputies: Man climbs into bed with sleeping woman after multiple burglaries

Pasco Deputies: Man climbs into bed with sleeping woman after multiple burglaries

NEW PORT RICHEY — A man who ended a series of burglaries by breaking into the home of a sleeping woman, where he climbed into her bed, was arrested Monday afternoon, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.Russel Smith, 42, now faces three felony char...
Published: 11/21/17

28-year-old man shot dead in Spring Hill home, deputies say

SPRING HILL — A 28-year-old man was shot and killed inside a Spring Hill home Monday night, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies responded to at least two separate 911 calls about 8:15 p.m., in which callers reported shots being...
Published: 11/21/17
Crime Stoppers, Straz Foundation still working out Seminole Heights reward money

Crime Stoppers, Straz Foundation still working out Seminole Heights reward money

TAMPA — You can collect $110,000 in reward money for information leading to an arrest in the Seminole Heights killings, but for now you’ll have to make two stops.The David A. Straz Foundation announced Monday it would contribute $10,000 to a reward f...
Published: 11/21/17

Crash involving bicyclist closes EB lanes on W Kennedy Boulevard in downtown Tampa

TAMPA — Eastbound lanes on W Kennedy Boulevard were reopened by 6:30 a.m. at S Parker Street in downtown Tampa after a bicyclist was struck early Tuesday morning.The crash occurred in front of the University of Tampa, according to broadcast reports.W...
Published: 11/21/17
In wake of killings, Seminole Heights hosts supper to thank first responders

In wake of killings, Seminole Heights hosts supper to thank first responders

TAMPAKenny Hoffa surprised everyone when he made the seven-hour drive from Charleston, S.C., to Tampa’s Seminole Heights to attend a dinner set up to thank police for working hard to solve a string of recent killings.For Hoffa, it was an easy decisio...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17