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Fired Longboat officer exceeded speed rules 21 times in three months, report says

Internal affairs report: Charges of misuse of in-car recording system also were sustained.

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  • | 8:56 p.m. March 9, 2020
Officer Jeffery Vogt was driving unit 83 in the collision with the Tesla driven by Charles and Marjory Barancik.
Officer Jeffery Vogt was driving unit 83 in the collision with the Tesla driven by Charles and Marjory Barancik.
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Officer Jeffrey Vogt, fired last week from the Longboat Key Police Department, violated department rules on speed 21 times between September 2019 and the night his marked patrol vehicle collided with a car driven by residents Charles and Marjory Barancik, killing them both, an internal affairs investigation concluded.

In addition, the investigation found a video and audio recording system in Vogt's patrol vehicle was shut off 30 times over the same time frame while either responding to calls in “emergency mode” or conducting traffic stops, also in violation of department rules.

Police Chief Pete Cumming on Feb. 5  ordered the internal investigation following the Dec. 18 crash that killed the philanthropists. A report of the crash, prepared by Sarasota Police and released to the public on Feb. 13, indicated Vogt’s marked Ford Explorer traveled 84 mph shortly before brakes were applied and impact with the Baranciks' Tesla.

"The town and police department take these types of policy violations seriously and adherence to
emergency-response policies and supervision of officers will continue to be a priority moving forward,'' Cumming wrote in a prepared statement announcing Vogt's March 5 firing.

Sarasota Police indicated Vogt was not to blame in the crash, and that construction equipment parked on the roadside just north of the En Provence Condominium driveway blocked Mr. Barancik’s view of the road and the approaching police SUV, which was operating with emergency lights but not a siren.

Vogt was responding along with a fire truck and rescue from Station 92, just south of the En Provence driveway, to a report of a fire alarm at the Longboat Towers’ north building. No fire was found, but the residents reported accidentally burning hot dogs in an oven and were unaware the fire alarm had been triggered.

Longboat Police general orders hold that officers drive no more than 30 mph over the posted speed limit, “and this maximum speed should only be exercised during ideal driving conditions.’’ The Dec. 18 crash took place 17 minutes after sunset at 5:57 p.m. on Gulf of Mexico Drive, where the speed limit is 45 mph. Vogt was injured and had been on disability/administrative leave since the crash. 

Vogt was interviewed by Capt. Chris Skinner of the Longboat Key Police on Feb. 18 and questioned about the speed of his SUV just before crash. Both Vogt and Skinner reviewed video evidence during their Feb. 18 session.

 “I asked Officer Vogt if he was aware of his speed during the response,’’ Skinner wrote in his report of the meeting. “Officer Vogt answered no, and he still does not believe he was going that fast.’’

Skinner also reports asking Vogt if he routinely exceeds 30 mph (over the speed limit) while responding in emergency mode. Officer Vogt answered, I would say occasionally but not routinely.’’

In the course of the investigation, logs of vehicles driven by Vogt were reviewed between Sept. 3 and the deadly crash. A total of 21 instances of speeds over 75 mph (30 mph higher than the island’s maximum speed limit of 45 mph) were found. On Nov. 16, responding to a report of a burglar alarm at 6:32 a.m., Vogt’s vehicle hit 86 mph in the vicinity of the 3800 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive.

In questioning Vogt about the in-car video and audio system, Skinner wrote that he checked three police vehicles and noted no instances of the recording system switching on and off while in emergency mode under the operation of other officers.

“I asked Officer Vogt if he was turning off the video for any reason,’’ Skinner reported. “Officer Vogt  stated he turns on the emergency lights to pass vehicles. He said after passing vehicles, he turns the emergency lights off. Officer Vogt said that he then turns the video off. He stated that he would then not be in emergency mode.”

The investigation sustained 30 violations of “deliberately misusing town property by stopping’’ the recording gear.

The department included as part of the investigatory report documents signed by Vogt when he was hired in 2018, acknowledging the department’s  Procedural General Orders and other regulations and expectations. 

Violations of department and town procedures and policies are considered  Group 1 offenses, punishable by termination on a third offense. The charge of “deliberately misusing town property” charge is considered a Group 2 offense, punishable by up to termination on a first offense.


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