Friday, December 15, 2017
Public safety

Zephyrhills Police Capt. Jeffrey McDougal resigns

ZEPHYRHILLS — Capt. Jeffrey McDougal, one of the top officers at the Zephyrhills Police Department, has resigned after a total of two decades of service.

"After much thought and reflection I have decided to pursue a transition in my life," McDougal, 43, wrote in his two-paragraph resignation letter to police Chief David Shears on Tuesday. "I have enjoyed my time with the Zephyrhills Police Department and serving the citizens of this community."

The resignation is effective Feb. 21, but McDougal is taking paid leave until that date.

McDougal was hired by the department in 1992, and left in 2006 to work in the private sector for two years, but remained a reserve officer during that time. Though the years, he worked his way through the ranks to operations captain, overseeing about 22 officers. Recent job performances say he's been average to a bit above average on the job.

Reached by phone Thursday afternoon, McDougal said his decision to leave the department was rooted in personal reasons and his frustration battling rumors in recent years.

In March 2010, McDougal came under fire after a package of documents was sent to city officials anonymously, alleging the officer had failed to disclose on his job application when he was rehired in 2008 that he had been involved in a case investigated by the Pasco County Sheriff's Office in 1992. A notary had been charged with fraudulently notarizing documents for McDougal in a land deal, and McDougal was a witness in the case.

The anonymous complaint noted the job application specifically asks whether the applicant has "ever been the subject of or a suspect in any criminal investigation," and McDougal checked "no." The City Council declined to order a formal investigation into whether McDougal should have disclosed his involvement in the case.

McDougal said Thursday that for the next two years, several untrue rumors were spread about him, including talk that he was pulled over for driving under the influence, but given a ride home instead of being arrested.

"There's no truth to it and anybody who knows me knows it," he said.

He said fending off such rumors while going through a divorce has simply been too much for him to do while continuing to work at the department.

"I'm just not going to put any more energy into those false accusations," McDougal said.

He declined to say what he might do next, but said he won't rule out going back into law enforcement.

"I might end up at another agency and that would be all right with me," he said.

And, he added, he has no ill feelings toward the department or the city.

"I hold no animosity toward the department," he said. "I love that community."

Capt. Rob McKinney, who heads up the administrative division, said the feeling is mutual.

"It's not personal," he said. "I certainly wish him well."

McDougal's position won't be filled anytime soon.

"Right now we're going to hold onto that position unless it becomes absolutely necessary," said City Manager Jim Drumm, who said staff would review the position when they prepare for the 2012-13 budget.

For now McKinney, the chief and Lt. Derek Brewer will split McDougal's duties.

Comments
After third fire at former Ybor City bathhouse, arrest is made

After third fire at former Ybor City bathhouse, arrest is made

TAMPA — A 46-year-old man was arrested Friday and accused of setting fire to a vacant Ybor City bathhouse hit by arson at least two other times earlier this year.Two Tampa police officers spotted smoke from the vacant building at 1512 E Eighth Ave. a...
Updated: 1 hour ago

FHP: Overturned pick-up slowed traffic on northbound Howard Frankland

ST. PETERSBURG — A pick-up truck towing a car onto the northbound Howard Frankland Bridge overturned and crashed on the shoulder, causing back-ups for motorists trying to get to Tampa, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The incident was reported...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

DOVER — Two Plant City men who ran from deputies and shot a dog were captured after a brief pursuit Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.They ditched the stolen car, ran away on foot, crossed through several yards and then ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

LARGO — A Pinellas sheriff’s child protective investigator has been fired and could face criminal charges after an investigation found she made a child custody recommendation to a judge as a favor to a friend.Jayne Johnson, who has worked for the She...
Updated: 2 hours ago
New video shows cows beaten and burned at Florida dairy farm

New video shows cows beaten and burned at Florida dairy farm

The Miami Beach-based Animal Recovery Mission has released a video from its undercover abuse investigation at a Central Florida dairy farmThe graphic video, with disturbing images of cows cruelly being beaten, speared, stabbed and burned, was shot by...
Updated: 3 hours ago

No charges against motorist as bicyclist is hit from behind, killed in Seminole Heights

TAMPA — A 52-year-old man riding a bicycle was killed early Friday when he was struck from behind by a car in Seminole Heights, Tampa police said.Wayne Kersh, 52, was killed in the collision about 12:15 a.m. on Hillsborough Avenue near N Central Aven...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Missing Child Alert canceled for Port St. Lucie girl, 17

A Florida Missing Child Alert has been canceled for a 17-year-old Port St. Lucie girl who was last seen on Thursday.The case involving Heaven Flores has been resolved, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Updated: 10 hours ago

Hudson pedestrian killed while crossing U.S. 19

HUDSON — A Hudson man was killed Thursday night while crossing U.S. 19.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 59-year-old Gerald Berube was crossing the northbound lanes of U.S. 19 north of Stahl Drive around 6:40 p.m. when he walked into the path ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Tampa police seek ‘person of interest’ in Dec. 3 homicide

Tampa police seek ‘person of interest’ in Dec. 3 homicide

TAMPA — Police are seeking a "person of interest" who they believe has information about a Dec. 3 drive-by shooting that killed a 22-year-old man.Police are searching for Anan Motilal, 25. He stands about 5-foot-10 and weighs 180 pounds. He may have ...
Published: 12/14/17

Pinellas Park officer stuns middle school student with Taser

PINELLAS PARK — A school resource officer stunned a middle school student with a Taser while trying to break up a fight between her and another female student on Thursday, police said.Neither the Pinellas Park officer nor the students involved in the...
Published: 12/14/17