Thursday, September 13, 2007

Yo' Serpico

It has been over thirty years since the release of the movie Serpico and it seems that some of our men in blue have yet to watch it. Frank Serpico was the anti-cop, rooting out the dirty cops in the department, even if it could have meant death for him. He was real and his search was real and unfortunately, dirty cops still exist in departments.

"I don't want a dirty cop. Cops don't like dirty cops, and that's exactly what he is," stated Volusia Sheriff Ben Johnson.

The investigation began two months ago in Volusia County FL, after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement received a tip. Authorities found that Deputy Gene Walton, 40, had used the agency's computer to collect information including information about a vehicle he believed belonged to a person he thought was a drug dealer.

Johnson stated that Walton had planned to make a traffic stop and then rip off the drug dealer. That plan may have worked better if Walton had not chosen an FDLE officer who was posing as a drug dealer.

Walton, who was a resource officer at Campbell Middle School in Daytona Beach FL, was working on Tuesday when he was summoned to a district office. He had worked as an officer for 14 years and previously had worked at a post office and as security supervisor at Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach.

He has been charged with one count of unlawful compensation, one count of misuse of confidential information and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery. He was held in a seperate part of the Volusia County Jail for his own protection with a bail of $21,000. He also was served with a notice of an internal investigation, suspended without pay and served with a notice that the Sheriff's Office plans to terminate his position.

His accomplice, Harry Cook, who isn't an employee of the Volusia Sheriff's Office, was arrested on one count of conspiracy to commit robbery and was held with bail set at $10,000.

I don't think there is any explanation or excuse that Walton could offer that would make up for the mud he has thrown on his uniform.

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