GAINESVILLE, Fla.(WCJB)-- UPDATE: Gainesville Police Department has responded to the letter sent by the PBA. GPD’s response to the PBA letter is as follows:
Chief Jones received the PBA letter and met with the representative, to discuss the issues that were listed in the letter. Chief Jones and Representative Lt. Schibuola recognize there are issues with the permitting process. Current City Ordinance only addresses permits for exceeding the noise restrictions, blocking roads or sidewalks, and parades.
GPD goes on to explain that in the permit applied for the incident in question was for a noise permit and would not have prevented the event from taking place. Current ordinances do not regulate or guide permitting an event.
GPD says they have been involved in discussions with other city departments for some time to create a user-friendly permitting process and allow for better review and resource needs.
Chief Jones has advised staff to bring the PBA’s recommendations to the city’s working group for consideration.
UPDATE: A second police union is chastising GPD and the City of Gainesville for how they handled a UF homecoming weekend concert that led to the shooting. The Florida Police Benevolent Association is joining the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police in calling for changes to how the city and its police department permit and staff high-risk events.
In a letter addressed to Gainesville Police Chief Tony Jones (which was also sent to City Manager Anthony Lyons), the PBA aired many of the same grievances cited by the FOP last month. The letter doubles down on the FOP's claim that Chief Jones only granted a permit for the concert after being pressured by a city commissioner. WCJB TV20 can confirm both letters' claim that the permit application for the concert was originally denied, but later granted after an inquiry from a commissioner. Though GPD told TV20 the permit was granted upon review due to an initial miscommunication between the police department and concert organizers.
The PBA letter also expresses specific concern about private security guards at the event being armed when police officers were told they would not be. References are made to recent incidents nationwide in which armed security guards have been shot by law enforcement who were not aware. The PBA proposes new regulations to make sure private security guards are background checked, easily identifiable, and accounted for at all future events.
WCJB TV20 is reaching out to GPD and city leaders for comment.
We've attached the full letter from the Florida Police Benevolent Association to this article. If you're reading on a desktop or laptop the file will appear to the right of the article text. Mobile readers, please scroll to the bottom of this article for that PDF.
ORIGINAL STORY (11/15/2018): The Gainesville Police Department is responding to accusations from the Fraternal Order of Police Gator Lodge following a shooting at a concert during Homecoming weekend.
The letter was sent Thursday from the Fraternal Order Of Police Gator Lodge 67 to Gainesville City Manager Anthony Lyons and GPD Chief Tony Jones.
GPD is responding publicly to the letter but the Office of the City Manager has yet to.
The Fraternal Order Of Police Chapter President Michael Maresca says city leaders and Gainesville Police Chief Tony Jones mishandled the concert event on homecoming weekend
That concert was held at the Heart of the City Hookah Lounge located in East Gainesville.
FOP's chapter president claims GPD didn't assign enough officers to the show, and allowed alcohol sales without a liquor license at The Heart of the City Hookah Lounge.
GPD says they informed the event coordinators that they could not sell alcohol at the event because they did not have a proper permit.
“After the event was over, we later learned that there was a vehicle inside the event that was full of alcohol and they were more than likely serving alcohol there,” Jorge Campos, Gainesville Police Department Chief Inspector, said.
The incident is being investigated and those involved could be civilly or criminally charged.
The letter also claims the Chief "has called this event 'successful'".
According to GPD, Chief Jones received compliments about the handling of the event from those attending however, Campos says "they weren't appreciative of what happened at the end of the event".
"Depending on how you measure success depends on how that answer would be and obviously in the letter that the union has submitted, their opinion is that is not a success,” Campos said.
The FOP letter also cites a Downtown Gainesville concert shooting involving the same artist and promoter 12 years ago, saying the permit for the recent show never should have been granted.
It also cites other problems including armed private security guards who were not supposed to have guns, and the shooting victim's 7 year old child being present.
GPD says the permitting process is being looked at and it may be a situation where city ordinances may be reviewed as well.
"Whether it's a concert, or whether it's a wedding reception or someone's graduation or birthday party. depending on how large that event is may not necessarily be the only measuring device to determine what type of security you need and all of those things,” said Campos.
Chief Tony Jones did write an email in response to the FOP chapter president and city manager welcoming them to discuss the matter.
The Office of the City Manager is not responding before that meeting is held.
If you would like to read the full letter on your mobile phone scroll all the way down to related documents tab.