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Sarasota Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010 7 years ago

Police Advisory Panel e-mail battle ensues

by: Robin Roy City Editor

When former mayoral candidate and current Civil Service Board member Paul Caragiulo contacted an adviser to the Police Advisory Panel, it touched off a small e-mail battle with the panel’s chairwoman, Susan Chapman.

Caragiulo said last week he called Peter Graham, a technical adviser to the panel and United Kingdom native, as part of his research to write a newspaper opinion piece.

The call came after the Police Advisory Panel discussed the Sarasota Police Department’s requirement that new hires have earned at least 60 college-credit hours.

“I was curious what (United Kingdom) standards are,” said Caragiulo.

After that phone call, Graham told Chapman about the conversation, and Chapman then wrote an e-mail to city commissioners and staff.

She wrote: “This is a courtesy notice that Paul Caragiulo, a member of the Civil Service Board, contacted one of the technical advisors of the Police Advisory Panel to advocate on behalf of the (Police Benevolent Association) position in opposition to the 60 college credit-hour requirement for new police recruits.”

Chapman said she simply wanted to pass the information along.

“If it was significant enough to let me know about it, I did not want to be in the position of sending on something that was reported to me,” she said.

But Caragiulo took offense to her statement that he was advocating on behalf of the police union.

“I’m not a member of the (union), and I have nothing to do with advocating,” he said.

Graham agreed that their conversation was strictly about United Kingdom policies.

“I have respect for what she’s doing (on the panel), but I’m irritated that (Chapman) put that out there without copying me on it,” Caragiulo said.

Caragiulo sent his own e-mail to counter Chapman’s.

“When I want to research an issue, I seek out answers from those who have knowledge with regard to the issue … To my knowledge, Ms. Chapman does not decide who gets to ask questions,” he wrote.

Chapman said she did not intend to offend Caragiulo.

“I thought long and hard about the words I used,” she said.

City attorney Bob Fournier said even if Caragiulo were advocating a police-union position, the educational requirements are not something that would go before the Civil Service Board.

Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].

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