5 Officers off Beats as Probe Continues Allegations Include Misconduct, Crimes

Article excerpt

Jacksonville Sheriff Nat Glover took two officers off the street yesterday and sent another home, bringing to five the number of officers stripped of their powers as a federal grand jury investigates allegations of police misconduct.

Officers Jason Pough and Reginald Bones, both 33, were placed on desk duty while Officer Karl Waldon, stripped of his authority in April and assigned to a desk, was sent home without any duties, Glover said.

"I am doing this in the best interests of this agency and this city," Glover said. "I'm committed to doing what's necessary to make certain we maintain public trust and the integrity in this agency."

The Times-Union has previously reported that during the 18-month investigation, Officer Aric Sinclair, 31, was sent home in February, and Officer Eric Maddox, 29, was put behind a desk in August.

All five officers are still being paid, Glover said.

The probe began after allegations were made that police were tipping drug dealers and has expanded into possible police involvement in other misconduct and crimes, including two homicides and at least three robberies.

Neither police nor federal prosecutors would say how Pough, Bones and Waldon are linked to the probe, though records show they worked in the narcotics unit with Sinclair. Maddox never worked in narcotics.

None of the officers has been charged with a crime, but several have retained attorneys. Paul Perez, a Jacksonville attorney representing Pough, declined to comment. Neither Waldon nor Bones nor their representatives could be reached for comment.

Glover declined to discuss details of the moves yesterday, such as why Waldon was sent home and the others given desk duty.

Yesterday's actions followed Bones' testimony two weeks ago before the grand jury, which has not completed its work. The grand jury has been meeting since last year and is being led by Deputy Managing U.S. Attorney Jim Klindt, who has successfully prosecuted law enforcement officers in Duval, Clay, Nassau and Baker counties on drug-related charges. He refused to comment on the investigation yesterday. Pough and another officer, Mario Potts, were subpoenaed last month to testify before the grand jury the same day as Bones but did not.

Police personnel records show Bones, a 1984 graduate of Baker High School, joined the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office in May 1993 after working as a deputy in Baker and Columbia counties.

While a Jacksonville police officer, Bones has been suspended twice and reprimanded twice for violating Sheriff's Office policy. He has received several commendations, but also has also received some negative evaluations. Bones worked in narcotics from September 1997 to January 1998, and most recently worked in patrol.

In a May 1999 evaluation, Bones' supervisor wrote that the officer "does not contribute to the work productivity of the squad, does not go out of his way to assist other officers and is not a team player." The evaluation also said Bones "does not display self-discipline nor is he self-motivated."

Records show he was suspended for five days in May 1998 after an internal investigation charged him with misconduct involving a traffic accident, in which he was driving Sinclair's unmarked police vehicle.

Sinclair was in a second unmarked car also damaged in the accident, which all the officers blamed on a third vehicle that was never found. …