Steve Wilcox said, 'William if you think the JSO is deserving of a "black eye" it is only because you do not understand police and legal interal workings, procedures and the law."
"Our detectives routinely share what they learn in the course of the investigation with the victim or complainant" - statement by Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford.
I find the the Sheriff's statement bordering on bizarre. If he cannot comprehend the ethical breach by his department, not to mention the possible violation of state and federal law, when his detective shared the "personal information" of Tom Rich to FBC Jacksonville administrators, information the detective gleaned in his investigation, then he ought to be fired. Let me illustrate the seriousness of such unethical police conduct with an illustration independent of FBC Jacksonville.
A beautiful, young divorced woman began to date a police officer of a major metropolitan police force. This woman's relationship with her former husband had gone south a couple of years earlier. It seems that now her ex-husband was saying things about her to others, things that harmed her reputation. He was saying that she was only interested in money, and once she married someone, she would be uninterested in him and constantly looking for "greener" pastures. The ex-husband had found out about every single relationship this woman attempted to enter, and he was somehow getting word to her new love interests that she was not a good person to be involved with in terms of a relationship. She was furious that at least two men had backed out of a relationship with her because of her husband's words. Unfortunately, the divorced woman did not know where her ex-husband lived anymore. There were no children, so there was no need for contact. Her ex also had an unlisted home number. She knew he had moved somewhere in the inner city, where he was self-employed and staying in a riverside apartment - but again, she had no idea where. She felt she had lost control of her life and she was frantic to shut down her ex-husband's talk. She told anyone who would listen that what her ex-husband was saying was "not true," buts she wished to confront him personally to threaten him. She didn't know how to reach him. She was fed up with losing relationships because of what her ex was saying about her. She did not wish to lose the relationship she was developing with her new boyfriend - the police officer. Enough was enough! So, an idea came to her for a possible solution.
She lies to the police officer. She tells him that "somebody" is stealing her mail, stalking her and possibly tapping her phone conversations. She does not know "who" it is, and has no "solid" proof that it is her ex-husband, but with the way her "ex" has made her life miserable by saying unkind and untrue things about her, she has no doubt it is him. Then, she goes further. She alleges that her ex-husband has made multiple enemies because of his unethical business dealings and pyschotic and sociopathic personality. She believes he is very, very dangerous, and she needs her friend's (the police officer) help.
She files a "complaint" with the police department. The officer, a solid detective in the metropolitan police force, neglects to identify any personal relationship with the complainant, and is assigned the case by his supervisor - within the normal course of the department's policies and procedures. The police officer runs a record check through NCIS (it comes up empty), requests of the state's attorney a couple of minor supboenas in order to find the "location" of this potentially dangerous sociopath. Then, the police officer, actually believing the story of his new girl friend, and wanting to protect the woman that he really cares about - shares all the information with her about her ex-husband . The detective tells her where he now lives, his work patterns, and who he is associating with on a daily basis - all without ever letting the ex-husband know he is being investigated.
The investigation leads nowhere. There is no evidence the man has done anything criminal, but the detective is content that he is protecting the woman he loves, and closes the case after handing over to his girl friend all the "information" routinely gleaned form the investigation. The police officer let's his new love interest know everything will be fine - this man will not be allowed to bother her. Important people now have their eye on him.
Then an amazing thing happens. The ex-husband is murdered in his house. After a lengthy investigation, it is discovered that the man's ex-wife, angry at what her ex-husband had been saying about her, murdered him while he was sleeping. It seems she was familiar with her ex-husband's habit of hiding the key to his house in a particular place, and drove over the his apartment, obtained the key from a magnetic case attached to the underside of the casing of the wheel, slips into the apartment and kills her ex-husband. In the civil lawsuits that followed, the police officer was found negligable for "routinely" sharing information with the "complainant." Though the illustration above is not from FBC Jacksonville, the similarities are evident.
UNLESS CRIMINAL ACTIVITY is UCOVERED, police officers are compelled, by the law, to keep the private information of citizens private. I would be very interested, Steve, as to whether or not you believe the detective and the police department in the illustration above, acted ethically and legally. If not, I would like to know how the situation in Jacksonville is different.
The world is too dangerous to live in - not because of the people who do evil but because of the people who sit and let it happen.