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One deputy fired, another suspended after gun left unsecured in Pinellas jail

LARGO — A deputy was fired and another suspended for 15 days after one of them left an unsecured gun in a control room of the Pinellas County jail, internal affairs records show.

Deputy Daunika Burge was escorting nearly 50 inmates to court when one of them pointed out that Burge was armed, causing a "severe security breach," records state. Instead of removing the gun from the jail, Burge entered a control room, which was visible to inmates, and stored the loaded gun, plus two full magazines, on a shelf in a lockless cabinet.

Deputy Cynthia Graham, who was assigned to the control room, knew about the unsecured gun. She was also acting as a field training officer at the time and had a recruit with her.

Records state that Graham "had an obligation, not only to restore security, but to teach your trainee proper and effective security measures."

When Burge picked up the gun nearly two hours later, she concealed the weapon in a bag and "understated the duration of the weapon's presence" to a supervisor.

Graham was fired Aug. 14 and Burge will serve her suspension starting this month.

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