Waldo Places Interim Police Chief on Leave

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News Release: Associated Press
August 29, 2014

WALDO, Fla. (AP) -- Waldo city officials have placed the acting police chief on administrative leave after allegations from fellow officers that he installed city-owned surveillance equipment for personal use and improperly stored evidence.

Waldo City Manager Kim Worley on Thursday announced Cpl. Kenneth Smith's leave and asked for a commander from the Alachua County Sheriff's Office to take over while the issues are being resolved.

Smith became interim chief after Chief Mike Szabo was suspended Aug. 12.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating claims that Szabo implemented an illegal ticket quota.

On Tuesday, five officers told the city council that Smith stored evidence, including drug paraphernalia, in a cooler under his desk.

They also claimed he installed city-owned surveillance cameras at his apartment complex to monitor the parking lot.

News Release: Associated Press
August 27, 2014

WALDO, Fla. (AP) -- Five Florida police officers told the Waldo City Council that they've been under a quota to write traffic tickets, which is a violation of Florida law.

The Gainesville Sun reports Officer Brandon Roberts told council members on Tuesday night they were required by Chief Mike Szabo to write 12 speeding tickets per 12-hour shift, or face punishment. He offered an electronic presentation and printed emails as evidence.

Roberts said they were speaking up because they no longer have faith in their "chain of command."

Waldo was ranked as the nation's third worst speed trap by a national publication in 2012. The Sun reports that documents show about half the city's $1 million budget comes from an item listed as "police revenue."

Szabo was suspended Aug. 12 pending a state investigation.

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