Obama Threats Bring Probe; Secret Service Investigates after Sheriff's Office Detective Quits

Article excerpt

Byline: Dana Treen

The U.S. Secret Service is investigating a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office detective who has resigned over threatening comments about President Barack Obama and members of the Democratic Party.

Secret Service agent Lisa Kline confirmed on Friday the investigation of detective Sam Koivisto, who quit in the face of an internal affairs probe. She would not detail how the agency is conducting the investigation but said it looks into all threats against the president.

Koivisto, a 26-year veteran with the Sheriff's Office who did undercover work, quit after Sheriff John Rutherford learned on Nov. 9 of "threatening" statements made following the election.

In a memo Thursday, Rutherford said a preliminary interview was conducted with Koivisto, "who acknowledged making the statements."

Rutherford said Friday the comments were made in the detective bureau. He said he was planning an internal investigation, though the remarks did not appear to rise to the level of being criminal.

"Then he quit," Rutherford said. That ended the investigation.

Rutherford called the comments unacceptable workplace conduct, though not a legitimate threat.

"You still don't make those kinds of comments," he said.

He said the Secret Service was notified.

Koivisto, who was in the city's pension program and would have been eligible to collect benefits in the spring, will be able to do so after using vacation time to bridge the gap, said Lauri-Ellen Smith, the sheriff's special assistant. …