Status of Beach police officers still a mystery

A letter addressed to Historic City News and other media outlets originating from Mike Scudiero, representing the Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association, informed us that, “the officers of the St. Augustine Beach Police Department have been cleared of wrongdoing in the investigation of their use of official law enforcement information systems.”

The announcement went on to say that the officers were further cleared of allegations “that they improperly released information gained while using city equipment.”

The Association represents thousands of law enforcement officers in eleven east coast counties in Florida and is the recognized Collective Bargaining Agent for St Augustine Beach Police Department officers and sergeants.

However, Interim Chief of Police David Messenger, a St Johns County Sheriff’s employee who replaced Chief Richard Hedges after his resignation, is quoted to have said, “We’re not finished with the investigation yet.” According to an article by Peter Guinta, Messenger told him, “Some of them have been cleared, but not all of them.”

Historic City News in St Augustine contacted the police department yesterday for confirmation of the officer’s status and we provided them with a copy of the letter we received from Scudiero on behalf of Police Benevolent Association President, Vincent L. Champion.

In a response from the St Augustine Beach Police Department, we were told, “The internal investigation is being reviewed to determine if any corrective action needs to be taken.”

We asked Administrative Assistant Michelle Price if there are any misstatements in the PBA letter, to which she replied, “Any further comment would be inappropriate at this time.”

A special meeting of St Augustine Beach City Commission is set for 7:00 p.m. on Monday, July 16, at which time commissioners will consider alternatives to maintaining their own police department to provide law enforcement services to residents in the future.

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