The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office has been requested to assist the city of Waldo Police Department after its interim police chief was suspended Thursday.
Waldo City Manager Kim Worley has requested the Sheriff’s office to step in after Police Chief Mike Szabo and Interim Police Chief Kenneth Smith were accused by other officers of establishing illegal ticket quotas. Both men are now on administrative leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducts an investigation into the Waldo department.
Sgt. Becky Butscher, public information officer for the Sheriff’s office, said they are still waiting for approval by city officials on the plan, and the city and the Sheriff’s office will resume negotiating the agreement after Monday.
Because the plan hasn’t yet been officially approved, details haven’t been released, Butscher said. She said she didn’t know how long the Sherriff’s office would work with the Waldo department, but said they would be there “as long as we are needed.”
Butscher said that while the investigation is under way, citizens of Waldo can still rely on the Waldo police to respond to situations as they normally would.
“We want residents to understand that there’s not going to be a delay in service, there’s not going to be any change in service, but that we may be supplementing their service in the meantime,” Butscher said.
Representatives of the city and FDLE were not available to comment for this story.
State Attorney William Cervone said that if any of the allegations against Szabo or Kenneth prove to be actionable, then the FDLE will meet with him to discuss a possible case.
“If their investigation reveals something that they believe is or might be criminal in nature, they would bring it to my office for considerations whether prosecution is appropriate or not,” Cervone said.