Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Penalty Severe When Law Runs Afoul; Police, Others Who Have Public's Trust Face Greater Scrutiny, Ramifications

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Penalty Severe When Law Runs Afoul; Police, Others Who Have Public's Trust Face Greater Scrutiny, Ramifications

Article excerpt

Byline: Dana Treen

Sam Koivisto, now a former Jacksonville police officer, told investigators he did comment he'd volunteer to kill President Barack Obama. He told them he was frustrated with the Nov. 6 election and the threat was all talk.

On Wednesday, Koivisto told the Times-Union the issue was "blown out of proportion" and that he was planning to retire in five months anyway. He said the early retirement was probably "best for everybody."

What Koivisto said in the department's auto theft office the week of the election didn't appear to break the law but is an example of behavior among police and other agencies in Jacksonville that has been found inappropriate and even criminal in the past several months.

Koivisto, 57, retired last week rather than face an investigation into the comments he made after Obama's re-election. During his Nov. 9 interview, he also told the integrity unit he had said he would not be bothered if a nuclear explosion "killed them all," referring to residents of Northeastern states struck by Hurricane Sandy. They were Obama supporters, he said.

He told colleagues: "If an order was given to kill Obama or something, then I wouldn't mind being the guy."

He told them the comments were all hyperbole and not actual threats.

"That's not saying I'm going to do it or would do it, and that's never going to happen," he added.

Sheriff John Rutherford said last week the comments were inappropriate for the workplace.

On Tuesday when police arrested another Jacksonville cop for soliciting a prostitute, Undersheriff Dwain Senterfitt said there was a standard in the department.

"We don't tolerate this kind of behavior," Senterfitt said in discussing the arrest of Officer David Sumlin.

"I've been the undersheriff for about a year and a half and we've arrested four or five employees since," he said. …

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