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Embattled Brooksville police detective resigns

BROOKSVILLE — An embattled Brooksville police detective resigned Thursday, three weeks after he was suspended with pay pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation.

Detective Shawn Terry, 33, turned in a two-sentence notice of resignation at 8 a.m. at the Brooksville police station, Chief George Turner said.

In the letter, Terry wrote that he was leaving the agency because he "decided to pursue other interests to further my career."

Turner declined to offer a reason for the veteran detective's resignation. "I really don't have anything to add," he said. "He can make his decision and move on."

Terry could not be reached for comment.

The State Attorney's Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are conducting a joint investigation into Terry, Assistant State Attorney Ric Ridgway said.

Ridgway declined to say whether that investigation is connected to the Brooksville Police Department's internal investigation.

Terry's resignation brings an end, if only temporarily, to a checkered history in local law enforcement. His disciplinary record was the worst at the Brooksville Police Department, despite his promotion to detective last year.

In his more than 10 years as a law enforcement officer, Terry has been the subject of 30 complaints and investigations and eight reprimands, some of which date to his time at the Hernando County Sheriff's Office. Most recently, state prosecutors investigated Terry for perjury after he lied in a deposition.

A native of Hernando, Terry graduated from Central High School in 1995. He worked as a security manager at Target while attending Withlacoochee Technical Institute's Criminal Justice Academy in Citrus County. Upon graduation in 1998, he earned a class leader award, and peers named him "most likely to succeed."

Terry began his career at the Pasco County Sheriff's Office in May 1999. He left less than a year later, in good standing, to take an identical position at the Hernando Sheriff's Office.

But within 10 months, Terry found himself under investigation following complaints that he used excessive force during a traffic stop.

Though an internal affairs inquiry determined Terry's actions fell within his discretion as an officer, a subsequent review found that he didn't need to use physical force as often as he did. Terry was later ordered to attend counseling with an agency psychologist.

Over the next two years, Terry was investigated at least eight times for alleged policy violations, ranging from failing to return messages to making threatening statements to a suspect. He received two reprimands.

Terry eventually resigned from the Sheriff's Office in July 2006, after the agency began exploring other allegations of policy violations.

Joel Anderson can be reached at joelanderson@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6120.

Embattled Brooksville police detective resigns 07/15/10 [Last modified: Thursday, July 15, 2010 8:52pm]
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