MILTON — A firm stance on deputy conduct has led to 10 firings since voters put Sheriff Bob Johnson in the office in 2016, he said.
This is despite the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office’s staffing shortage, which led to county commissioners approving a 10 percent raise for deputies in January of 2017.
“There is nothing more damaging than a bad cop,” Public Information Officer Rich Aloy said.
The department takes all officer complaints seriously, he said.
“We want to investigate,” Aloy said. “If it’s above our capacity, we’ll refer to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
“We take a serious stance.”
The sheriff’s office has an open-door policy for the entire command staff, Johnson said.
“So if somebody wants to complain on an officer and I’m out of town, the chief deputy, the major over law enforcement, the captain over law enforcement, can take that complaint,” Johnson said. “You don’t have to give your name but we do need enough information so we can contact you back and let you know the status of your complaint against the officer.”
The process of filing a complaint starts with completing an incident report, which can be done anonymously, according to Johnson. The supervisor investigates and, if substantiated, the matter may move up to the Internal Affairs Unit, he said.
“Whatever punishment is due we deal it out all the way up to termination,” Johnson said. “We take it seriously, and if they’re not performing their job as they’re supposed to, that’s a bad reflection on law enforcement (and) the sheriff’s office in general, and we’re not going to tolerate that.”