Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Beat Goes On

Well, the police chief at the center of other conflicts in the Key West Police Department really stepped in it this time. Chief William Mauldin was suspended this week (with pay) by the City Manager, himself a target of public criticism after just more than a half-year in his position. His decision to hire two people as assistants to replace the retiring assistant didn't set well with one commissioner and is not viewed kindly by some citizens. Meanwhile, the Police Department itself is being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, a move initiated by Mayor Morgan McPherson following suits brought against the City, the Police Department, and the Chief personally by two suspended patrolmen

The investigation of the chief on charges of sexual harassment of the City's Public Information Officer are being carried out by the City Attorney and the Director of Human Resources. They will make a recommendation to the City Manager, former Navy Captain James Scholl, who has the power to hire and fire the police chief. He retired last year as Commander of Naval Air Station Key West, and was hired in April to replace long-time City Manager Julio Avael, himself eased out by the current City Commission. Mauldin was appointed to the chief's position by Avael three years ago.

Simultaneously, the FBI and the DEA have an investigation underway and have notified dozens, maybe hundreds, of citizens that they were recorded on wiretaps during a month-and-a-half period last summer. A convicted drug dealer was released from state prison early after he agreed to take part in a sting operation for the Feds. The local press reported that "politicos" were among those who were notified they were recorded and fledgling Key West Commissioner Barry Gibson, elected last November acknowledges that he has received a letter from the FBI. Many, maybe most, of the calls recorded may be of no consequence in the investigation, unrelated to it. I sincerely hope that Barry is in that category. I've known him for almost 10 years and he is, as far as I know, a straight shooter.

Last Sunday the Key West Citizen editorialized on the FDLE investigation, crediting Chief Mauldin for doing the right thing by calling FDLE to investigate, something he didn't actually do at all. Suspended and now-resigned police officer Matthew Klosowski rebuts the editorial in a guest editorial column in today's Citizen. In it he foreshadows the now public sexual harassment accusation against the chief.

If you're following me so far, you're a Key West Junkie, so I'll elaborate.

Our fair city has a checkered past when it comes to politics, policemen, and public corruption. Some say that former chief Ray Peterson, ousted by Avael in the late '90s was the last good chief to hold the position. As far back as the 1970s, fire chief Joseph "Bum" Farto disappeared while under indictment for drug trafficking. He was never heard from again, but his fame lives on in literature and song.

And the beat goes on.


Anonymous said...

Officer Klosowski was never suspended? where did that come from??

Robert Kelly said...

Where do you read "never suspended"? The post says, "Suspended and now-resigned ..."

Anonymous said...

Right, get your story strait, I did my research and found in his career there, he was never suspended, but had numerous letters of commendation! Get his file, it's public record. When he resigned, he was on full duty.

Anonymous said...

You should of kept this whiny loser in Florida.

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