Police union wants investigation into promotions - FOX 13 News

Police union wants investigation into promotions

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

The union representing most St. Petersburg police officers wants an internal affairs investigation of some of their potential sergeants and lieutenants.

It is the latest turn of events stemming from allegations made in March that the department's promotion process was racially biased.

The original complaint came during a meeting in a St. Petersburg church, attended by an unknown number of African-American officers of various ranks, including an assistant police chief.

Mayor Rick Kriseman quickly ordered an audit of the promotion process by an outside consultant.

The recently completed report verified appropriate procedures and processes, but noted two "anomalies": in oral examinations, some of the candidates gave unusually similar responses.

In a few other oral exams, unexplained "whispering" was heard.

"I look at this as having no clear evidence that there was cheating that occurred," Mayor Rick Kriseman told FOX 13 News Tuesday. "We're moving forward with the promotions."

Interim Police Chief David DeKay is anxious to fill one lieutenant and four sergeants’ positions.

The PBA, the department's largest bargaining unit, alleges a double standard is being used.

"The rank and file should not be treated differently than management," spokesman Michael Krohn told FOX 13 News. "Why aren't we interviewing, through the internal affairs process, interviewing the people who were in that room, why aren't we getting to the conclusion of what really happened?"

Krohn argued an internal affairs investigation serves two purposes: identify transgressors and exonerate the wrongfully accused.

"Without taking this any further to make sure nothing was done incorrectly, then how do we ever know?" Krohn pondered. "We're just closing the book without knowing the conclusion."

Late Tuesday, spokesmen for the mayor said Kriseman had no problem with an IA investigation, which they said would be the police chief's decision.

Chief DeKay said he had not considered such an investigation, and is not inclined to open one.

The union claims IA investigations do not require the same proof as criminal proceedings, and most IA cases are for administrative violations such as conduct unbecoming an officer.

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