High Springs Police Department Investigations Continue, Some City Officials Disagree
Published April 18th, 2014
HIGH SPRINGS - Multiple investigations auditing the work of the High Springs Police Department claim residents' private data hasn't been handled safely. However one city official believes this is all being brought up now to tear down the former police chief.
This afternoon a review of police management was released by the High Springs City Manager-- Ed Booth. However, the timing of it all doesn't sit well with some city officials.
An audit by the FDLE last year, found that the High Springs Police Department had 9 violations and 14 potential problems within the agency. Then this month, a report prepared by former City Commissioner Eric May through Emerald Data Partners, looked at the city's network security audit. Over the phone May tells us they found issues like, the main server at city hall having no back up and that thousands of dollars were spent on computers that were hardly used.
Booth says his report was done at no cost, and that he is working with Emerald to fix some of those issues that has cost the city money. Bob Barnas High Springs City Commissioner said, "We've spent over 7 thousand dollars to prove that there may be 11 thousand dollars in equipment we don't need, does that make sense?"
Commisioner Barnas doesn't agree with the way things are being handled, especially after another report was released Thursday afternoon. This 18 page report was prepared by retired Chief William Liquori and looked into the High Springs Police Department's administration.
Antoine Sheppard, Acting High Springs Police Chief said, "In terms of the morale that the department was at... In terms of particular officers at the agency. Some things were a concern like our training files, the organization, the management of those files."
Barnas said, "Mr. Liquori my opinion was a hired gun by Ed Booth to find something wrong with whatever Steve Holley did." Barnas thinks the same about May's report. Barnas believes the timing of bringing in these third parties for analysis after letting Holley go rather than before is a problem.
Sheppard disagrees and says that no matter who the chief is, that the police department is always looking to improve. "We're working very hard no matter what criticism we receive from the citizens or the news media and you can be assured that your police department will be there for you and has been there for you and that will continue no matter whom occupies the position of importance," Sheppard said.
Barnas urges residents to look into the city's issues for themselves. "It's been a political swing from the majority to the minority in the commission. The public needs to attend meetings to find out the truth, the truth is told at public meetings," Barnas said.
Liquori's report will be formally presented to the High Springs City Commission next Thursday.
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