Police Chief Al Hogle fired Longboat Key police officer Jessica Anderson Wednesday, Oct. 21, 48 days after she was placed on unpaid leave while the department investigated an arrest that did not meet professional standards.
Hogle’s announcement comes six days after his termination of former police officer Patti Beardsley, who waved her department-issued handgun at a motorist Sept. 16 in front of her Sarasota home.
Anderson’s termination went into effect Sept. 4.
In a disciplinary action memo sent to Anderson dated Oct. 21, Hogle said Anderson awakened a Key resident June 14 and told him to move his vehicle from the grass median beside his home, even though the vehicle was not creating a traffic hazard.
A video of the incident taped from Anderson’s squad car reveals Anderson did not give the man an opportunity to produce his driver’s license or move the vehicle before arresting him for “resisting, obstructing and failure to obey a lawful command.”
The memo also states Anderson yelled “extremely inappropriate language in front of children who were present.”
On June 26, the 12th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office issued a “decline to file” on Anderson’s arrest of the Key resident.
In a pre-disciplinary hearing conducted in August, Anderson admitted to “inappropriate actions.”
Anderson, however, who was hired in March 2008, has filed an appeal that Town Manager Bruce St. Denis will review.
Southwest Police Benevolent Association attorney Michael Krohn said he believes Anderson was treated differently than other officers in the department.
Krohn said other officers have several incidents in their files and are still employed by the town.
“She made a mistake, but we believe the termination was excessive and disparate in treatment,” Krohn said. “We hope the town manager will be fair and neutral (during the appeal hearing).”
Hogle said the loss of the police officers has not been a problem, because they have been on leave for weeks, but he said the positions will be filled as soon as possible.
“The bottom line is all shifts are being met,” said Hogle, who said captains are working longer hours, and a few overtime opportunities are available each week to make sure the department does not fall below minimum manning requirements.
Currently 7 Responses
- If an officer can harass and arrest a citizen for something as small as this incident why is it so far fetched that she should be fired for a perceivably small offense. Police should be held to a higher standard and often fired for small violations of a citizens rights to keep the abuse of power in check. They should also have harsher punishments for such violations than average citizens since their violations happened under the color of authority.
- She should be terminated. In longboat key where crime is relatively low, it seems cops have nothing better to do than sit in their cruisers, watch porn, and harass residents for parking on the grass. Anderson was repeatedly asked to stop using profanity in front of the children by the taxpaying Longboat resident, instead she just lost her marbles and arrested the innocent man in front of the children. Its cops like these that give the rest of the well doing department a bad name. I believe that there should be some psychological screening in the police academy to weed out these bad apples. These are the kind of cops that probably got picked on real bad in high school and have a personal vendetta against society. They enjoy the feeling of power over others. These people should not be allowed to walk around with the power to take away a persons civil rights, let alone carry a gun. Im sure the traumatized children at the scene wont be choosing Police Officer at the next school careerer day thanks to Miss Anderson.
- Just a few thoughts... Is it against the law to park where this car was parked? Isn't there a sign here indicating no parking? Had the police been asked to enforce parking on the right-of-ways? Could this firing be in retaliation for the union vote? Just wondering.
- I agree with Jackie in saying that I have always had pleasant interactions with Ofc. Anderson in the community and I find this news upsetting. As most know you can't always trust everything the media says as it often tends to be skewed. There may be more behind the story that we don't know yet, such as why it took the Chief 48 days to investigate the incident. It didn't take the Chief that long to Terminate Ofc. Beardsley.
Lee in case you are not aware, the SAO has been declining many cases due to the excessive amount of crimes occurring in Manatee county so saying that the SAO office declined to file means very little in this particular case. Was Ofc. Anderson wrong in using profane language? perhaps but she owned up to it, this does not mean that the arrest was not justified. We were not there at the time of the arrest so we don't know how everything occurred. It will be interesting to see how the appeal process pans out and I wish Ofc. Anderson the best of luck. I know I sure will miss seeing such a good officer such as Ofc. Anderson patrolling the Key.
- Mr. Pokoik,
I think it would be worth looking into this Officer's file to find out if she did indeed have any other "black marks" in her personnel file to warrant termination. It would be very disappointing indeed if we were all to learn that were no such "black marks" before this incident though. In regard to the State Attorney's Office declining prosecution on the case, that is almost a laughable matter.
- According to Chief Hogle the 12th Judicial Circuit's State Attorney's Office after their investigation declined to prosecute as there was no reason for the arrest.. Perhaps there were other black marks in this Police Officer's file to warrant her termination.
- I find it hard to believe that Officer Anderson would arrive at a resident's home and simply harrass them because their vehicle was parked in the grass and I find it even harder to believe that she would arrest an individual without justification. Anyone that has ever dealt with Officer Anderson on a professional level could tell you that she was fair, respectful, polite, and professional with the residents of Longboat Key.
I am also curious if this incident happened back in early June, why is it that Chief Hogle waited so long to take any type of action against Officer Anderson? If Officer Anderson was such a liability and her actions were so inappropriate, why would the department allow her to continue to work for another two months after the incident? If she was capable of just making arrests at will without justification and being so inappropriate that her termination was warranted, then how could the Chief of Police explain this? Perhaps he was busy this summer?
So, I want to make sure that I understand this correctly; Officer Anderson's alleged misconduct occurred on June 14, 2009 and she continued to work until she was put on leave 48 prior to her termination on October 21, 2009, which would be mid August sometime. That means that Officer Anderson continured to work two months after the alleged incident, continued to be a employee for 48 days after being put on leave for the alleged incident, and was finally terminated for what sounds like something a fifth grader wrote and handed in to the newspaper. Do I have this summed up for the most part? My biggest question here is, what took place during the two months that Officer Anderson worked after the incident and I would LOVE to know what was going on between Officer Anderson and the department during those 48 days before her termination and what ever happened to the guy that was arrested? I mean, it only took the Chief how long to terminate Officer Beardsley?
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