Umatilla, Florida Police Chief Suspended for Playing Games

The Umatilla, Florida Chief of Police has found himself in hot water this week over playing video games on the only computer in the office – among a litany of other complaints from his subordinates, who painted him as a bit of a tyrant. Police Chief Doug Foster, who has run the Umatilla Police Department for 19 years, has also been accused of using meetings to treat officers harshly, has made his staff run personal errands, took away officers' shotguns, neglected department vehicles, and required officers to submit a list of medication they were taking. While Foster had "no comment" for the local newspaper (The Daily Commercial), in a written response to the City Manager, he denied some of the claims made against him and tried to explain the rest away.

"Morale among officers is very low and you are the direct cause," City Manager Glenn Irby wrote in a memo to Foster which informed him of his 10-day suspension.

Foster said that he only played games during his lunch break and after business hours, and only asked a sergeant to pick up a tenant's rent. Foster also submitted several proposals to deal with the issues in the police department including closer interaction with officers, encouraging feedback and attending a management course.

Irby called some of those ideas a "good start" but believes that external and personal issues have clouded Foster's judgment. Irby says any further violations could be grounds for immediate termination.

Irby became aware of the internal issues in the police department after an "emotional officer" named Joel Cooper told the city manager he wanted to resign because he "believed that he had no other choice." Cooper later gave Irby a "lengthy written chronology of concerns, encounters and outright complaints stemming from both personal and professional issues with the Umatilla Police Department."

Of 10 complaints levied against Foster, he found at least seven of them to be true. Sgt. Chris Bell will fill in for Foster until his scheduled return of Sept. 12.

Source: Daily Commercial

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