Second-in-command sidelined at LCPD
Posted in the Lake City Forum
#1 Nov 17, 2011
Lake City Police Department Capt. Robert Smith was placed on administrative leave with pay Tuesday after he filed a complaint against another LCPD captain. City officials have launched an investigation into Smith’s claims, which center on allegations of employment discrimination and “internal operations disagreements” with Chief Argatha Gilmore as well as “conflict” between Smith and Capt. John Blanchard, according to a memo from City Manager Wendell Johnson to Smith.
Few details of Smith’s allegations were available. Smith declined comment for this story and city officials denied a public records request for a copy of his complaint, citing a statutory exemption.
Blanchard and Smith function as second-in-command at the police department. Smith is LCPD operations captain and supervises road patrols.
On Wednesday, Nov. 9, Johnson received a 25-page memo, along with 60 pages of exhibits, from Smith, according to the memo. The following day Smith added to his complaint information concerning a laptop computer lost by an officer under Smith’s supervision.
In the memo, Johnson said Gilmore questioned “why the laptop was reported as a ‘grand theft’ when it appears to have been lost by the officer. The Chief also questioned why the loss of an expensive piece of equipment with a potential security breach was not immediately brought to her attention.” Johnson wrote that Smith considered Gilmore’s “questions and response to this issue as an overt attempt to single you out and to be harassment.”
Johnson placed Smith on paid administrative leave on Tuesday.
“That was my decision — totally my decision based on my own judgment,” Johnson said.“Chief Gilmore had no say in this and no role in this decision. It was mine and only mine.”
The duration of Smith’s leave was not specified.
However, assistant city attorney Richard Stadler, who is conducting the investigation into Smith’s complaints, told Smith he would try to complete his work by Thanksgiving, according to Johnson.
Under city policy, an employee can be placed on administrative leave for a variety of reasons, Johnson said.
“My choice to put Capt. Smith on administrative leave while this investigation was going on is because of my what my observations tell me his emotional involvement is and his intensity about it,” he said.“I told him that I feel it’s in his best interest to go home and relax. He asked for the investigation and I asked them to do the investigation as expeditiously as possible and in the mean time I just want him to be free from any further belief of such treatment that he’s alleged and that was the best way to do it ... It was nothing more than just the fact that I believe that his own frame of mind was just not really where it needed to be functioning at optimum performance in the Lake City Police Department.”
Smith was named a Lake City Police captain on Oct. 4, 2010.
Johnson said the document he received from Smith did not meet city guidelines for a formal complaint.
“The complaint has been submitted in a written package of 85 pages but it is not within the format, nor does it meet the policies directed by the city’s personnel policy,” Johnson said.“However, I honored it as a legitimate complaint and I’m going to see it through and investigate it as a legitimate complaint.”
#2 Nov 17, 2011
Isn't this the guy that the new Chief of Police imported from Alabama?
#3 Nov 17, 2011
Well I guess Rudolph Davis will have a new ally now. Maybe when Davis runs for sheriff, Smith will become his side kick, then when they lose, he and Davis can file discrimination charges against the whole county! LOL
#4 Nov 18, 2011
I be sure this one will be a Race Issue!
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