Florida’s new Secretary of Corrections is facing questions from state lawmakers concerning confidence, inmate deaths, and complaints of abuse from officers. The main question appears to center on the agency’s ability to police itself.
Julie Jones was named to the post on January 5. Two weeks later, she met with various legislators on her game plan to restore confidence and ease concerns.
“I’m a very plain-spoken honest person, and we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing in order to get this thing fixed,” said Jones.
Florida's Department of Law Enforcement is getting a new leader, but questions remain about why Governor Rick Scott abruptly shook up the agency.
Attorney General Pam Bondi, CFO Jeff Atwater, and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, the Florida Cabinet, voted Tuesday to appoint longtime FDLE veteran Richard Swearingen to replace Gerald Bailey as Commissioner.
Sources say Bailey was forced by the Scott administration to resign in December. But the Governor had a different take.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement in February began the examination of alleged evidence tampering by a former employee in its Pensacola crime lab. The case focused on Joseph Graves -- who resigned as the lab’s analyst supervisor.
Graves’ resignation came in the wake of allegations that he may have tampered with evidence from the cases. He was suspended with pay.
The evidence involved was from 80 law enforcement agencies in the 35 counties, including Escambia and Santa Rosa. The reach was as far south as Monroe County.
Inmates from the Escambia County Jail are scattered around detention facilities and hospitals in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties after Wednesday night’s explosion at the lockup. The blast is believed to have originated in a rear laundry room on the first floor, according to officials.
“Anything for a Buck,” launched in 2011 to take illegal guns off the streets of Escambia County, is among several stings run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that are now under investigation by the Justice Department.
A Pace man faces child pornography charges, stemming from an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that began earlier this month.
Thirty-five-year-old Josh Herrin was arrested Thursday, after agents executed a search warrant at his residence on Tiburon Boulevard. Jeff Duncan at FDLE’s Pensacola office says their cyber-crime team conducted the investigation.
The head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement told legislators Wednesday that the arrest of a former crime-lab chemist will lead to new precautions in handling drug evidence.
FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey gave the Senate Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice an update on Joseph Graves -- the Pensacola crime-lab chemist – who’s accused of compromising hundreds of state drug cases.
Graves is free on $290,000 bond, with arraignment set for February 25th in Escambia County Circuit Court. More charges may still be pending.