Allegations that Deputy Sawicki violated his "last chance" agreement with the VCSO.
Did Deputy Sawicki engage in sex while on duty?
Did the VCSO properly investigate this moral character violation?
Did the VCSO violate Florida Law?
Will the CJSTC / FDLE investigate?
Updated March 13, 2013
"If we have morality issues, if it involves the job, or any part of it, it is fully investigated..." Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson - October 18, 2012
Sheriff Ben Johnson October 2012
THE PRIOR HISTORY OF DEPUTY SAWICKI
Former Volusia County Sheriff Deputy Michael Sawicki had a rather short and colorful career with the Volusia County Sheriff Department.
In September 2011, Deputy Sawicki was involved in a domestic violence incident with his girl friend. His girl friend was arrested, but during the investigation, there were concerns that Deputy Sawicki had driven his patrol car while under the influence of alcohol. These allegations were investigated in VCSO's official internal affairs investigation #11-010.
In July 2012, Deputy Sawicki was arrested by Sanford police for domestic violence against the very same girl friend. Sheriff Johnson allowed Deputy Sawicki to enter into a "last chance" agreement in order to avoid termination from the VCSO. This matter was investigated in formal IA investigation #12-011.
Then, finally in August 2012, in violation of his "last chance" agreement, allegations surfaced that Deputy Sawicki engaged in sex with his girl friend while on duty. The VCSO conducted a "supervisor's inquiry" (NOT an official INTERNAL AFFAIRS INVESTIGATION - in contradiction to VCSO's own policies), into the allegations and determined that the allegations of sex on duty were of concern.
THE SEX ON DUTY ALLEGATIONS Does Florida law require law enforcement agencies to complete moral character investigations, and to report their findings to FDLE / CJSTC ?
In August 2012, a complaint was filed on Deputy Michael Sawicki. The complaint came from Deputy Sawicki's alleged former girl friend.
Deputy Sawicki had experienced a rather difficult relationship with this particular girl friend, which included a July 2012 arrest for domestic violence.
In the complaint, the girl friend alleged that she and Deputy Sawicki engaged in sex while he was on duty.
If true, these allegations have some serious ramifications. First, sex on duty is a moral character violation, as defined in Florida Statutes and Florida Administrative law - this will be further explained below.
Second, if true, while the public was expecting law enforcement services from the VCSO, one of their deputies might have been occupied in servicing his girl friend's sexual wants, needs and desires.
Third, if true, other VCSO deputies lives were put into IMMEDIATE danger. Obviously, Deputy Sawicki was possible back up for any of the other deputies on duty.
In this article, we intend to present you with the documents attached to this "investigation". We also intend to question whether the investigation was in compliance with Florida laws and mandates. And at the end, we will invite you to watch a October 2012 video of Sheriff Ben Johnson advising some citizens of Volusia County, that these types of morality issues are fully investigated by his Sheriff Department.
Review carefully, the evidence attached to this "investigation / inquiry" - evidence that suggests that Deputy Sawicki unplugged his AVL (automatic vehicle locator) and purchased condoms while in uniform. Review his text messages to his girl friend, which telegraphs both his intentions and actions.
DURING A OCTOBER 2012 DEBATE Sheriff Ben Johnson promises that all moral character allegations against VCSO deputies will be fully investigated. Were these allegations against Deputy Sawicki initially fully investigated?
Sheriff Johnson further discusses allegations of sex on duty against his political opponent.
"Hold it right there flat foot - I only have eyes for my honey bunny, Roger, ...and aren't you still on duty?"
LEGAL OBLIGATION TO INVESTIGATE Does Florida law require law enforcement agencies to complete moral character investigations, and to report their findings to FDLE / CJSTC ?
Did the VCSO comply with Florida law in the investigation of these allegations?
In Florida, law enforcement and correctional officer misconduct cases are divided into three types.
Obviously, not all law enforcement agency policy violations are moral character or criminal violations, and not all moral character violations are criminally prosecuted.
However, as per Florida Statutes 943.1395(5) law enforcement agencies have a legal obligation to fully investigated any alleged officer misconduct, that meets the definition of either a moral character or criminal violation.
The agency's investigative findings must then be submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement / Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission (CJSTC), should the misconduct be sustained.
The CJSTC has the authority to revoke an officer's law enforcment or correctional certification. Therefore, for officers, the CJSTC has the comparable authority as the Florida Bar has over attorneys.
All sustained criminal or moral character violations must be reported to the CJSTC via a CJSTC 78 form. An example of what a completed CJSTC 78 form looks like is provided below.
Deputy Sawicki's CJSTC 78 form filed due to his July 2012 domestic violence arrest. FDLE records indicates that the VCSO did NOT file a CJSTC 78 regarding the August 2012 Sex on Duty allegations against Deputy Sawicki. Further, as of March 11, 2013, the VCSO has also not provided VolusiaExposed.Com with a CJSTC 78 form - and as per the last sentence in the below March 8, 2013 email, Mr. Davidson states he has located no additional documents. The point is - per instructions on the back of a CJSTC 78 form - even if the allegations are not sustained, or are sustained in matters involving mere policy violations - the agency should maintain a copy of the CJSTC 78 form internally, regardless of whether it is mandatory to file the form with the CJSTC.
Before we move on - it important for our readers to understand, that mere violations of agency policies do NOT require a CJSTC 78 form to be sent to the CJSTC / FDLE. A CJSTC 78 form merely reports to CJSTC / FDLE that the employing agency has completed an internal investigation on an officer with the indicated findings.
With that thought in mind, it's been our experience that it is NOT an uncommon practice for law enforcement and correctional agencies to investigate a criminal or moral character violation as only an agency policy violation, thus avoiding the filing of a CJSTC 78 to the CJSTC / FDLE.
Is that what happened here, with the sex on duty allegations against Deputy Sawicki? We shall explore that possibility, and allow our readers to decide for themselves.
THE VCSO "INVESTIGATION" Was it an investigation or a shuck and jive?
In late February 2013, VolusiaExposed.Com became aware of Deputy Sawicki's August 2012 resignation, while being investigated for allegedly engaging in sex while on duty.
Obviously, VolusiaExposed.Com was aware that Deputy Sawicki had signed a "last chance" agreement attached to his July 2012 DV arrest.
We reached out to Gary Davidson, the VCSO's Public Information Officer for any available records attached to any internal affairs investigation regarding Deputy Sawicki, connected to allegations of engaging in sex while on duty. Initially, Mr. Davidson advised us that there had been no official internal affairs investigation, merely a "supervisor's inquiry" . In his February 25, 2013 email to VolusiaExposed, Davidson stated - "Sawicki subsequently resigned his position during the
course of an inquiry that was being conducted at the supervisory
Consequently, there was no IA, and therefore, no ROI, associated with
any actions on the part of Sawicki directly preceeding the
supervisory review and subsequent resignation."
However, in an email dated February 28, 2013, Mr. Davidson clarifies that he was mistaken. Mr. Davidson stated - "I must correct a statement I made in my previous e-mail. I didn't
realize that although the Michael Sawicki supervisory inquiry did not
reach the level of a formal IA, our Internal Affairs Unit nonetheless
had prepared an ROI following Sawicki's resignation in order to
document the complaint and formally close out the inquiry. Apologies
for my earlier misstatement."
Now, what are the problems within Mr. Davidson's emails ?
The problems are easy to identify.
First, as Mr. Davidson noted in his February 28, 2013 email, the "supervisory inquiry did not reach the level of a formal IA (internal affairs investigation)". On page 3 of the below linked VCSO policy (52.1.21), SUPERVISOR INVESTIGATIONS / INQUIRIES are used to investigate minor policy violations; rudeness to citizens; insubordination; and tardiness or dilatory behavior. Sex on duty is, once again, a MORAL CHARACTER violation in which Florida State Statutes / Administrative Laws mandates that a formal internal investigation be conducted.(as indicated in VCSO policy 52.1.20 - top of page 3)
So, apparently by failing to open a formal IA investigation - not only was the VCSO out of compliance with Florida State law, they were also out of compliance with their very own policies.
Second, Florida law requires that any internal investigations connected to suspected criminal or moral character violations be COMPLETED, to include a formal finding / disposition, regardless if the officer resigns or retires. Does Mr. Davidson's emails appear to suggest that the "inquiry" was discontinued, upon the resignation of Deputy Sawicki ? Further, a review of the below linked "Supervisor's Inquiry" also indicates that the inquiry was discontinued due to Deputy Sawicki's resignation (see page 4 of the inquiry).
Ironically, on page 3 of the below listed VCSO Internal Affair Policies, it clearly states in VCSO policy 52.1.24 - that a supervisor's investigative report shall include a statement indicating what can or can not be substantiated. In our review of the Supervisor's Inquiry, we could find no such conclusive statements that would concluded whether or not the allegation of sex on duty was sustained. However, the investigation did appear to make a conclusion that the girlfriend had filed the complaint for revengeful purposes.
We invite you, our readers, to review the complete VCSO Complaint Procedure policy, (Chapter 52.1) to fully appreciate how the Sawicki incident was processed out of compliance of VCSO's own policies.
THE VCSO MAKES A "MISTAKE" ? VCSO incorrectly filed the CJSTC 61 form. Was it done by design or by error?
On September 9, 2012 - the VCSO filed a CJSTC 61 form with the CJSTC / FDLE indicating that Deputy Sawicki was no longer employed with the VCSO.
What is a CJSTC 61 form? Think of it like a military DD-214. In short, the form reflects either a honorable or dishonorable separation.
In the below linked copy of Deputy Sawicki's CJSTC 61 form, it indicates that he resigned while being investigated for a VCSO POLICY VIOLATION. However, that is not accurate. While having sex on duty may or may not be a VCSO policy violation, IT IS a violation of Florida's Officer Moral Character Standards (as defined in F.S. 943.13 and FAC 11B-27.0011). Therefore, the CJSTC 61 form should have reflected that Deputy Sawicki resigned while being investigated for a moral character violation, AND this would have also required the VCSO to file a CJSTC 61A form explaining the allegations in detail.
In the below linked March 8, 2013 email, Mr. Davidson concurred with our position, that Deputy Sawicki's CJSTC 61 form should have reflected that he resigned while being investigated for a moral character violation, and not merely a VCSO policy violation.
KUDOS go out to the VCSO, in their acceptance that they incorrectly filed the CJSTC 61 form. However, the VCSO must also accept that their inquiry / investigation was not conducted in compliance with F.S. 943.1395(5) - with particular attention given to the documented fact, that the investigation was discontinued due to Deputy Sawicki's resignation, and that no investigatve finding is incorporated.
AN INVESTIGATION REGARDING A SUSPECTED MORAL CHARACTER VIOLATION MUST BE COMPLETED AND HAVE AN INVESTIGATIVE FINDING IN ORDER TO BE IN COMPLIANCE WITH F.S. 943.1395 Unfortunately, it would appear that Deputy Sawicki's investigation was not completed nor does it have an investigative conclusion.
However, we STRONGLY disagree with Mr. Davidson's position that the VCSO Sawicki investigation was completed in compliance with F.S. 943.1395(5), as he documents in the above linked March 8, 2013 email.
In the below linked May 2010 CJSTC / FDLE Professional Compliance Bulletin (see pages 3-4), it provides information to facilitate an understanding of the Professional Compliance process. We invite our readers to review this bulletin.
On page 4 of the bulletin it states: "Frequently, officers under investigation for possible violations of the Commission's Moral Character Standard will resign or retire. Additionally, some agencies administratively separate an officer suspected of a violation rather than conduct an investigation into allegations. Regardless of the officer's employment status with the agency, Commission rule require that an investigation be completed and sustained allegations forwarded to Commission staff."
We (VolusiaExposed.Com) suspect that this is exactly how the VCSO processed the sex on duty allegation against Deputy Sawicki.
They (VCSO) allowed Deputy Sawicki to resign (AKA - administratively separated him). Then they (VCSO) failed to open a formal internal investigation on the allegations, in apparent violation of their own internal policies and F.S. 943.1395.
While, Public Information Officer Gary Davidson attempts, in his above linked March 8, 2013 email, to assure us that the "Supervisor's Inquiry" met the legal requirements of F.S. 943.1395, it clearly does not. There are no investigative findings or conclusions in the Supervisor's Inquiry, as is required by F.S. 943.1395. Further, the Supervisor's Inquiry was discontinued upon the resignation of Deputy Sawicki, another clear violation of F.S. 943.1395. Lastly, per VCSO own policy (52.1.21 - see below quoted copy), a "Supervisor's Inquiry" would be inappropriate for such a serious allegation. (moral character violation)
VCSO POLICY - 52.1.21 Supervisory personnel are authorized to investigate violations involving:
Minor violations of policy and procedure;
Allegations of rudeness to citizens;
Tardiness or dilatory behavior.
CONFUSION OF THE FACTS EQUATES TO PLAUSIBLE DENIABLITY ? A have your cake, and be able to eat it too approach to internal investigations. A politician's dream come true.
Did the VCSO intentionally neglect to properly investigate the alleged moral character violation (sex on duty) against Deputy Sawicki ? Instead of investigating the allegations as a moral character violation, did they (VCSO) opt to process the allegations as a mere agency policy violation ? And if so, ask yourself why ?
Is this merely our opinion? Let's refer to it as our suspicions - but our suspicions are supported by VCSO documents, or lack of documents.
Remember, there are NO requirements to file the CJSTC 78 form with the CJSTC, if the only violations that are sustained are agency policy violations. Does that explain why the CJSTC has no CJSTC 78 on file for Deputy Sawicki on this issue ? While the CJSTC does not require a CJSTC 78 to be forwarded to them on sustained agency policy violations, they do document that a CJSTC 78, with investigative findings should be placed in the officer's agency file. However, when we made a public records request from both the CJSTC and the VCSO, neither could produce the CJSTC 78 form for the sex on duty incident.
Then there is the alleged mistake in the filing of the CJSTC 61 form. Instead of properly indicating that Deputy Sawicki resigned while being investigated for a moral character violation, the VCSO indicated he resigned while merely being investigated for agency policy violations.
We have directly requested from the VCSO their position on whether the sex on duty allegations were sustained or not sustained against Deputy Sawicki. We have not, as of yet (March 11, 2013), gained any response either way. We have been advised that they (VCSO) hold the position that they investigated the allegations, in compliance with F.S. 943.1395(5), - therefore, if true, they (VCSO) should be able to address our questions regarding whether the allegations were sustained. (A requirement of F.S. 943.1395(5))
Without a CJSTC 78 form and / or a CJSTC 61 / 61A form clearly indicating that any moral character violations were sustained against Deputy Sawicki, it would be unfair for us to report that such allegations were sustained. Then again, we are unable to report that the deputy was cleared of the allegations either. Was this exactly the goal of the VCSO by causing all of this confusion ?
CONFUSING SEX ALLEGATIONS / INVESTIGATIONS ARE NOT UNIQUE TO THE VCSO
Interestingly, there is a similar "confusing" investigation coming out of the Volusia County Jail. A jail nurse was "investigated" for engaging in inappropriate contact with inmate(s). We are reviewing the rather small amount of documents attached to that "investigation", and have developed some concerns that this matter was also not properly investigated. Currently (March 11, 2013), the county is still providing us additional reports, regarding an incident that apparently transpired in December 2012. One of the reports that has been received was written in February 2013, three days AFTER our initial request for public records.
The jail's possible failure to come to any investigative conclusions, might have placed the nurse in a unfair position. We are working on our review of these concerns, however, the county has been somewhat difficult in providing us all the records.
SPECIAL NOTE: The Sheriff Department does NOT operate the jail - any concerns or difficulties in obtaining records from the jail can not be attached to the VCSO.
The above, coupled with the additional sex related scandals that have come out of the Volusia County Beach Patrol and Fire Services, has identify, that these problems are not isolated to the VCSO. Some of these additional scandals have been posted on VolusiaExposed.Com, and more are pending.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
It is of interest to know that Deputy Sawicki's brother is VCSO Sgt. Justin Sawicki. Did the fact that Deputy Sawicki's brother is a sergeant within the Volusia County Sheriff Department influence the investigative process? VolusiaExposed.Com has developed the opinion that it certainly was not to Deputy Sawicki's disadvantage.
Deputy Sawicki's career survived two incidents, within a year, that apparently involved, driving his patrol car under the influence of alcohol, domestic violence issues and an arrest. Now, it would appear that the VCSO has failed to properly complete a mandated moral character investigation involving Deputy Sawicki. We invite you to re-visit our Deputy Scott Flesch article. Would it have served Deputy Flesch's interests to have a family member in the VCSO administration?
KNOWING WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED THE CAPTAIN OSOWSKI SCANDAL
Recently, Deputy Roy Galarza was able to keep his job, even though an internal affairs investigation concluded that he had gone outside his patrol zone, (approx 50 times) while on duty, to visit his girl friend's home.
The Deputy Galarza situation, like the Sawicki situation, also included allegations, that during these on duty visits, he engaged in sexual activity with his girl friend, and unplugged is AVL (Automatic Vehicle Locator) in his patrol car.
If you are wondering how Deputy Galarza and Deputy Sawicki appear to survive allegations that would get other deputies' employment with the VCSO immediately terminated, could it have something to do with the fact, that both of these deputies were first on scene during the VCSO Captain Osowski incident?
While VCSO initially cancelled the Osowski IA when the deputy retired, they did rectify this mistake, when it was brought to their attention by VolusiaExposed, that they were mandated to complete the IA even though Osowski had retired. We can only hope that they will do the right thing here with the Sawicki investigation.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT OUT OF THE CJSTC ? Does the CJSTC have the authority to investigate?
Yes, the CJSTC does have the authority to inspect the records attached to the Sawicki "inquiry / investigation", in order to insure compliance with Florida State laws.
The question is will they? Let's wait and see - we intend to forward this article's web link to CJSTC administrative staff, as well as all CJSTC Commissioners.
We would imagine, that at the very least, the CJSTC would have some concerns that the VCSO "investigation / inquiry" was discontinued upon Deputy Sawicki's resignation - in our opinion, a clear violation of F.S. 943.1395(5).
Maybe, some of our readers might even wish to reach out to the CJSTC Commissioners - therefore, we have provided the below web link to all of their contact information. If you have only the time to reach out to one commissioner, we recommend Commissioner Ernie George.
So, there you have it. You can decide for yourself whether the VCSO FULLY INVESTIGATED the sex on duty allegations against Deputy Sawicki, as promised by Sheriff Ben Johnson (see below video). If you form the opinion, that these matters were not FULLY INVESTIGATED, then ask yourself this question, can the public really expect proper external law enforcement investigations, from an agency that does not apparently properly internally investigate itself ?
Sadly, additional concerns can be reviewed on VX's home page
If you found this article to be thought provoking, we (VolusiaExposed.Com) invite you to review, the below linked, Special Investigative Report, exposing law enforcement corruption with the State of Florida.
SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE'S SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE SERIES ON LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRUPTION