Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Misconduct Inquiry Has Been Strain for Glover

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Misconduct Inquiry Has Been Strain for Glover

Article excerpt

Sheriff Nat Glover rode into the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office five years ago with high hopes of minimizing police misconduct, among his many goals.

Glover first ordered officers to put their names on patrol cars so people could identify them for good and bad acts. Later, he curbed off-duty work to cut down on fatigue, ordered domestic violence prevention training to combat officers' arrests for the crime and required more accountability from his supervisors.

Despite those efforts, Glover is now coping with the crisis of his administration as a federal grand jury investigates allegations of drug tipping, robbery and murder involving police. While the probe is not widespread -- five police officers have been stripped of their duties since Glover requested the investigation -- the sheriff still worries about the repercussions.

"What saddens me the most is the young officers and the veteran officers who work so hard to make this one of the best agencies in the country, some of them seem to be personally hurt," Glover told the Times-Union Friday. "When I look into their faces, I feel an extra level of sadness."

No one knows when the investigation will end, though those familiar with it say it could be within a month.

Glover made a pre-emptive strike Thursday, ahead of any indictments, by announcing the formation of a committee of community leaders to study issues such as hiring and discipline. Meanwhile, a new "integrity unit" of city police and agents from the FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement will conduct stings on Jacksonville police to catch troublemakers and deter misconduct.

Glover said he's trying to do what's right for the department and the community, yet he's feeling the pain of having to address a problem that has become a black eye for those wearing a Jacksonville police uniform. Things are so bad that one detective said Friday he is happy he works in plain clothes so he wouldn't be identified on the street as a policeman.

"Obviously it's taken its toll on me as an individual," Glover said. "Certainly, it's on my mind constantly. Having to answer questions about it as it progresses has been something that I wish I didn't have to do. …

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