Clear79° FULL FORECASTClear79° FULL FORECAST
Make us your home page
Instagram
2134601 2038-01-18 05:00:00.0 UTC 2038-01-18T00:00:00.000-05:00 2013-08-02 22:42:05.0 UTC 2013-08-02T18:42:05.000-04:00 editorial-discipline-of-officers-shouldnt-wait published 2013-08-02 22:33:56.0 UTC 2013-08-02T18:33:56.000-04:00 opinion/editorials DTI 110029318 Tampa police responded to an internal scandal last week by announcing the department would disband its stand-alone DUI squad. That's a good idea. Folding these officers within a larger, unified command will make them more effective and accountable. But the move does nothing to discipline two DUI officers for their role in setting up an arrest. The department is buying time when it should be restoring public faith by dealing with these officers' misconduct. Police Chief Jane Castor said the special unit's members will be spread out among the department's three patrol districts, which divide the city into geographic areas. While the department toyed with the idea for years, Castor said the January arrest of Tampa lawyer Philip Campbell reinforced the need for the change. A special prosecutor's report released last week alleged that two Tampa officers, Sgt. Ray Fernandez, who oversaw the DUI squad, and Timothy McGinnis, an officer assigned to the squad, worked in concert with a rival law firm to set up Campbell's arrest. That is certainly enough to reorganize the DUI unit. It's also enough to begin disciplinary proceedings. Fernandez needs to answer why he targeted Campbell after being tipped off that he was drinking by a "close, personal" friend who was an attorney at the rival law firm, Adams & Diaco. He exchanged 92 texts with this attorney in the hours leading up to and shortly after Campbell's arrest. And how did Fernandez "accidentally" erase his text messages the next day? Why did McGinnis refuse after Campbell changed his mind to allow him to take a sobriety test? That denied evidence to the state and defense and cleared the way for an arrest. Castor said the department won't move until the FBI finishes its investigation. But that could take months, allowing memories to fade and stories to be coordinated. There's no reason that internal affairs can't conduct its own probe simultaneous to the FBI's investigation. The city's scope is narrower than any federal civil rights issue. The special prosecutor, Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe, said the police dash cam video showed that "Campbell does not appear impaired." He dropped the DUI charge in part because the officers' "credibility would become a significant issue." McGinnis' belligerent tone at a hearing in the case raises more questions about the legitimacy of the traffic stop. The men and women of the police department should not be under a cloud because of the "worrisome behavior" that McCabe saw among the players in this case. Castor should not lose any more time in examining the actions of these officers. Opinion, Editorials, Main, hillsborough Editorial: Discipline of officers shouldn't wait JHILLN 4STA Main dhvrppmxttnp dhvrp Don't delay Tampa officers' discipline A Times Editorial hillsborough 6 duicops edit080513 Don't delay Tampa officers' discipline 2013-08-05 04:00:00.0 UTC 2013-08-05T00:00:00.000-04:00 1 /resources/images/dti/2013/08/edit_jane080513_11245922.jpg /resources/images/dti/rendered/2013/08/edit_jane080513_11245922_4col.jpg/resources/images/dti/rendered/2013/08/edit_jane080513_11245922_8col.jpg true templatedata/tampabaytimes/StaffArticle/data/2013/08/02/110029318-editorial-discipline-of-officers-shouldnt-wait StaffArticle 2013-08-02 22:42:05.0 UTC 2013-08-02T18:42:05.000-04:00 opinion,editorialsEditorialsTampa police responded to an internal scandal last week by announcing the department would disband its stand-alone DUI squad. That's a good idea. Folding these officers within a larger, unified command will make them more effective and accountable. But the move does nothing to discipline two DUI officers for their role in setting up an arrest. The department is buying time when it should be restoring public faith by dealing with these officers' misconduct.Opinion, Editorials, Main, hillsboroughOpinion, Editorials, Main, hillsborough 2273444 2016-04-15 20:13:04.0 UTC 4 Months Ago editorial-better-alternative-on-school-discipline-needs-tweaking opinion/editorials Editorial: Better alternative on school discipline needs tweaking StaffArticle 2264905 2016-02-10 22:03:46.0 UTC 6 Months Ago editorial-pinellas-takes-positive-steps-on-student-discipline opinion/editorials Editorial: Pinellas takes positive steps on student discipline StaffArticle 2288807 2016-08-09 20:38:05.0 UTC 3 Weeks Ago editorial-pinellas-schools-need-fairer-discipline-policy opinion/editorials Editorial: Pinellas schools need fairer discipline policy StaffArticle <p>Tampa police responded to an internal scandal last week by announcing the department would disband its stand-alone DUI squad. That's a good idea. Folding these officers within a larger, unified command will make them more effective and accountable. But the move does nothing to discipline two DUI officers for their role in setting up an arrest. The department is buying time when it should be restoring public faith by dealing with these officers' misconduct.</p> <p>Police Chief Jane Castor said the special unit's members will be spread out among the department's three patrol districts, which divide the city into geographic areas. While the department toyed with the idea for years, Castor said the January arrest of Tampa lawyer Philip Campbell reinforced the need for the change. A special prosecutor's report released last week alleged that two Tampa officers, Sgt. Ray Fernandez, who oversaw the DUI squad, and Timothy McGinnis, an officer assigned to the squad, worked in concert with a rival law firm to set up Campbell's arrest. That is certainly enough to reorganize the DUI unit. It's also enough to begin disciplinary proceedings.</p> <p>Fernandez needs to answer why he targeted Campbell after being tipped off that he was drinking by a &quot;close, personal&quot; friend who was an attorney at the rival law firm, Adams &amp; Diaco. He exchanged 92 texts with this attorney in the hours leading up to and shortly after Campbell's arrest. And how did Fernandez &quot;accidentally&quot; erase his text messages the next day? Why did McGinnis refuse after Campbell changed his mind to allow him to take a sobriety test? That denied evidence to the state and defense and cleared the way for an arrest.</p> <p>Castor said the department won't move until the FBI finishes its investigation. But that could take months, allowing memories to fade and stories to be coordinated. There's no reason that internal affairs can't conduct its own probe simultaneous to the FBI's investigation. The city's scope is narrower than any federal civil rights issue. The special prosecutor, Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe, said the police dash cam video showed that &quot;Campbell does not appear impaired.&quot; He dropped the DUI charge in part because the officers' &quot;credibility would become a significant issue.&quot; McGinnis' belligerent tone at a hearing in the case raises more questions about the legitimacy of the traffic stop.</p> <p>The men and women of the police department should not be under a cloud because of the &quot;worrisome behavior&quot; that McCabe saw among the players in this case. Castor should not lose any more time in examining the actions of these officers.</p>falseruntime2016-08-30 05:31:10