Scripps Interactive Newspapers Group, tcpalm.com
BYLINE: Elliott Jones
SEBASTIAN — Police arrested one of its veteran sergeants on charges of trafficking in oxycodone and tampering with evidence, a police spokesman said in a prepared statement Sunday.
Sgt. William Grimmich, 45, a 25-year veteran of the department, was jailed early Sunday on the two felony charges and is being held in the Indian River County Jail in lieu of a $150,000 bail.
He is on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the case.
The case “is shocking information to us (a police agency of 37 officers)” in Indian River County’s largest city, said police spokesman Officer Steve Marcinik. “We had no hint. It caught us off guard.”
Sebastian Police Chief Michelle Morris said routine accounting and auditing procedures earlier this year revealed discrepancies in the amount of controlled substances placed in the police evidence room. The chief, in consultation with the State Attorney’s Office, immediately requested an independent investigation by an outside agency so the inquiry wouldn’t appear biased.
That led to Grimmich’s arrest.
“Our ultimate goal is to determine exactly what occurred, who was responsible and whether this was the result of an incompetent work performance or malicious criminal behavior,” Morris said. “I will not tolerate any misconduct of this nature.”
She declined further comment about details, such as when and how the discrepancies occurred, because the investigation is ongoing and has been turned over to the State Attorney’s Office.
In criminal cases the State Attorney’s Office reviews the evidence police find and then decides what charges, if any, it will prosecute a defendant for.
“We (the police department) will wait their decisions before completing our internal investigation” that could lead to further action, including firing, the release said.
Before this incident Grimmich had received accommodations and awards.
Grimmich has served on patrol, investigations, narcotics and as a police supervisor. He has been a road patrol sergeant for the past three years. In the past he was supervisor of the agency’s investigation’s division, the statement said.
The Sebastian Police Department has been accredited for 12 years by the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement.
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