BRADENTON, Fla. - One Bradenton Police detective has been fired, and an undercover detective faces a disciplinary hearing for conduct unbecoming of an officer over an incident in which the two officers allegedly broke into City Hall after hours to use the restroom.
According to a 20 page report from the Bradenton Police Department's Office of Professional Standards, Detective Ross Johnson and his partner, both assigned to the narcotics unit, used a screwdriver to manipulate a lock so the pair could repeatedly access City Hall for three days beginning Friday, February 7.
City Hall and Police headquarters share the same building and are connected by a long hallway. A city hall employee found the door unlocked and a review of surveillance cameras showed both police officers walking in the hallway at times using flash lights instead of turning on lights and tampering with a door lock.
During an interview the officers claimed they turned a latch up and around so the door would not lock, allowing the police officers to use the door. Both officers claimed the reason for doing this was so they could use “nice” and “more sanitary” bathroom in City Hall because the detectives bathroom was “nasty.”
Neither officer reversed the lock at the end of their shift and left City Hall susceptible for a total security breach.
Bradenton resident Keith Rogers says he wasn't surprised by the news. “Bradenton Police, they are not at a professional level that one would really expect.”
Chris Joyce was disappointed when he heard about the police officers. “It is always a shame because the police do a great job.”
“I can't expect all police officers to be moral giants. They are people too,” said Todd Reese.
Residents like Joyce applauded the police administration for taking action and investigating their own. “They probably loved the guys that did it but they have to stand and represent the community and the standards that the police force and a government organization are supposed to adhere to,” said Joyce.
According to the report, both officers violated police department rules by engaging in behavior unbecoming of an officer and engaging in conduct that creates doubt regarding the honesty of the officers.
Detective Ross Johnson has been fired but is trying to get his job back through the police union grievance process. The second officer has yet to be identified because he has been on vacation and has not had his disciplinary hearing.