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Hillsborough reprimands courthouse guard who failed to stop woman with fake gun

TAMPA — The security officer responsible for letting a gun-shaped cigarette lighter slip into the Hillsborough County Courthouse Aug. 5 has received a written reprimand, a county spokesman said Thursday.

But his supervisor may not get off as easy.

Officer Armando Arroyo was supposed to be watching the X-ray monitor but got distracted when Howronda Overstreet, 31, of Brandon ran her bag through the machine, said Willie Puz, a county spokesman.

Puz said Arroyo noticed the object after Overstreet had gone, and reported it to his supervisor, Sgt. Sal Vlacancich. "The supervisor did not report the incident up the chain, per county policy, in a timely fashion," Puz said.

Vlacancich will face a predisciplinary hearing today at 9 a.m., where a hearing master will determine whether to recommend suspension, demotion or termination. The hearing master has 10 days to send the recommendation to the assistant county supervisor, who will decide if it is appropriate or something different should be done, Puz said.

Deputies said Overstreet walked into the George E. Edgecomb Courthouse at 8:45 a.m. on Aug. 5 carrying the lighter.

It was nearly two hours before courthouse security notified the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office that a gun may be in the building. Deputies evacuated the building and searched for the woman, eventually concluding that she was already gone.

Hillsborough reprimands courthouse guard who failed to stop woman with fake gun 08/27/09 [Last modified: Friday, August 28, 2009 7:18am]
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