Rift Between Leon County Sheriff and Tallahassee Police Chief

He is pointing the finger directly at Tallahassee Police Chief Walt McNeil, saying the chief rarely shows up for domestic security task force meetings and won't allow joint training.

The sheriff fired the salvo on the Sunday morning talk show, The Usual Suspects.

Larry Campbell, Leon County Sheriff, says, “I appointed him as the head of the law enforcement component of the 13-region, 13-county region, when we first started and he has done nothing to help me."

The sheriff contends that except for a few highly coordinated exercises like the ones at Doak Campbell Stadium in 2003 and a more recent one at Tallahassee Memorial.

The police chief will not allow his officers to train alongside sheriff's deputies. He cites a host of attempts at joint training, which he says were rebuffed by TPD. Among them were a training session to test out new chemical suits in June of 2002, a weapons of mass destruction awareness class in May of 2003, a joint training exercise at the Florida Capitol in August 2004.

Larry Campbell, Leon County Sheriff, says, "I have attempted to work with the Tallahassee Police Department in the training area and we are not allowed to train together and that's going to get some people killed one day."

Police Chief Walt McNeil refused an on camera interview for this story. He contends he's been busy visiting police and sheriff's departments in the 13-county region and says obviously there's been some miscommunication between him and the sheriff, a situation he prefers to resolve with the sheriff in person, not on TV.

Some contend that the sheriff is exploiting this rift to push for consolidation. He denies that.

We also tried to get FDLE to comment. The bottom line is this rift impacting public safety. An FDLE spokesman has declined that request for comment as well.


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