Sanford Police Department (Florida)

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The Sanford Police Department is a police agency in Sanford, the county seat of Seminole County, Florida. It employs 140 sworn police officers alongside 24 other employees, and Police Chief Smith. Prior to Chief Smith, Richard Myers was the Interim Police Chief. Myers is the former Chief of Police in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Appleton, Wisconsin.[1] In March 2012, Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee took a temporary leave of absence during the department's investigation of the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin, and Captain Darren Scott was named acting chief of police.[2][3][4] Myers took over from Scott in May, 2012.[1][5] In April 2013, Former Elgin, Illinois Deputy Police Chief Cecil Smith took over as the department's chief.[6]

The department's officers are represented by Lodge 140 of the Fraternal Order of Police.[7]


The foundation of the Sanford Police Department are based on three guiding principles (1) Integrity: In how we perform our duties (2) Dedication: To our community and providing quality services and (3) Pride: In our City, the Communities within and our Department.

Through the years, the Sanford Police Department has developed into a multi-faceted law enforcement team providing comprehensive services to the City of Sanford through the Operations and Support Services Divisions. That team approach has created partnerships between local churches, community groups, and businesses, as well as other local, state and federal agencies.

The Sanford Police Department has many specialized units to better serve the citizens within our community. The units include: Traffic, K-9, Investigations, D.A.R.E., School Resource Officers, Crime Prevention and Community Policing Officers.

New Public Safety Complex[edit]

In November, 2010, the Sanford Police Department moved to a new $20 million, 76,000-square-foot Public Safety Complex, which it shares with the Sanford Fire Department and a five-bay fire station. Built to withstand 150 mph hurricane winds, the two-story complex also houses Sanford's emergency operations center.[8][9][10] The police and fire departments have separate and much larger facilities with a shared atrium, and there is a public meeting room.[8] The police department also has a room specifically to conduct voice stress analysis, a type of lie detector test, and the fire department's communication system is integrated with a new dispatching system in Seminole County.[9] The building uses an integrated video surveillance and access control system from Genetec.[11]

Sanford's Public Safety Complex is located between the city's Goldsboro Community and the State Farmers Market.[8] At the time of its planning, the complex was considered part of Sanford's efforts to revitalize the Goldsboro area.[12]


In 2003, the Sanford Police Department was awarded a $375,000 federal grant from the Community Oriented Policing Services to help pay for five officers' salaries.[13]

Shooting of Trayvon Martin[edit]

On 26 February 2012, Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old boy who had been visiting his father in a gated community in Sanford, was walking back from a nearby store. A civilian neighborhood watch captain, 28-year-old George Zimmerman, called Sanford Police from his truck to report Martin's behavior as suspicious. During the call Zimmerman left his vehicle to follow Martin and later there was a fight. Martin was shot by Zimmerman during this fight, ending it. The incident led to protests against the Sanford Police Department and national and international attention in the media,[14][15] with race an issue in the case as Martin was Black and Zimmerman is a mixed-race Hispanic.[16] On 22 March 2012, Florida Governor Rick Scott appointed a special prosecutor, Angela Corey, to take over the investigation.[17]

On the same day, Bill Lee, chief of the Sanford Police at the time of the shooting, announced that he had temporarily stepped down from his position, stating "my involvement in this matter is overshadowing the process."[4] Lee had received criticism for his handling of the investigation, and on March 21, the City Commission, including the mayor, passed a motion of no confidence in the police chief.[18] On 23 April 2012, Lee offered a letter of resignation but it wasn't accepted by the Sanford City Commission. In May, 2012, former Colorado Springs, Colorado, Police Chief Richard Myers was appointed to lead the Sanford Police Department by City Manager Norton Bonaparte.[1] In June 2012, Bill Lee was dismissed by Bonaparte, on the grounds that he had lost the confidence of the community.[19]

Cecil Smith became chief of the department starting in April 2013. Smith had served as deputy chief of the Elgin, Illinois police.[20]


Press reports have indicated a number of cases of misconduct by officers of the Sanford Police Department.

In 2010, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement report noted that Sanford police Officer Christopher McClendon had misused his official position by helping a car dealer recover cars from delinquent customers in exchange for having his own car payments forgiven.[21]

In February 2010, press reports indicated one officer was fired, and another, Ned Golden, Jr., was suspended for two weeks[22] after sending sexist and racist text messages on a department computer.[23]

In January, 2011, the same Officer Golden was assigned to retraining after approaching a car of people at a gas station with a drawn gun. Officer Golden grabbed the car when it pulled away. He then claimed the driver of the car tried to kill him by driving away while he held on to the car.[24] No charges were filed in the case. In August 2011, after an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Golden was fired. The state report recommended he be charged with filing a false police report, official misconduct and assault with a deadly weapon.[25] No charges were filed by the State Attorney's Office.[26]

Officer Golden is the son of the head of the local police union.[23]

In that same month, the chief of the department, Brian Tooley, took an early retirement as a result of an incident involving one of his officer's sons. Justin Collison was caught on video tape in an unprovoked assault on a homeless man outside of a bar. Press reports indicate Collison, the son of a police lieutenant, was not arrested or charged with a crime by the Sanford Police Department until the video became public 7 weeks later.[27][28][29]

In April 2011, Officer DeAnthony Shamar was fired when it was discovered he had used a boy scout as a proxy buyer in a drug investigation. In his nine years as a Sanford police officer, Shamar had been investigated by the department 25 times.[30]

In December 2012, Officer Stephan Santiago was charged with leaving the scene of an accident after a chase that culminated with him driving his car the wrong way on the street, bumping off the curbs several times. Santiago passed a field sobriety test and the police department promised an internal investigation. The same officer had been involved in a barroom brawl in 2008.[31]

In late December 2013, Officer Joseph Jermaine Wiggins pleaded no contest to taking a bribe from a man in exchange for his not being cited for a traffic offense in October 2011.[32] He was sentenced to five years on probabtion and banned from working as a police officer.[33]

In July 2014, the department paid $75,000 to man who threatened a lawsuit. He had claimed two police offers use excessive force arresting him. The department did not admit any misconduct.[34]

Also in July 2014, Officer MIckey Hinkley was fired after an internal investigation determined he had threatened a prisoner with his taser.[35]


  1. ^ a b c Gene Demby, Trymaine Lee (2 May 2012). "Richard Myers Named New Sanford Police Chief Amid Discord Between Officials, Cops". The Huffington Post. 
  2. ^ "Sanford Police Department". City of Sanford, Florida. Retrieved April 7, 2012. 
  3. ^ Delinski, Rachel (March 26, 2012). "City commissioners do not accept Chief Lee's resignation; Lee will stay until further investigation is complete". Sanford Herald. 
  4. ^ a b "Trayvon Martin case: Sanford Police Chief under fire in Trayvon Martin shooting case". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved March 23, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Fla. city where teen killed gets interim chief". Associated Press. May 1, 2012. 
  6. ^ [1]. Chicago Daily Herald April 2013.
  7. ^ Lodge 140 website. Sanford Police Department Fraternal Order of Police. Retrieved March 2012.
  8. ^ a b c "Police Architect". Architects Design Group. Archived from the original on 2012-05-26. 
  9. ^ a b Roberts, Gary (November 1, 2010). "Moving day for police and fire". Sanford Herald. 
  10. ^ "Fire and Police Headquarters Patience Pays Off". 
  11. ^ "Genetec Integrates US Public Safety Complex Surveillance and Access Control System". 
  12. ^ Hendricks, John (June 13, 2007). "Safety complex could spur 13th Street growth". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Sanford Police Department awarded federal grant". Orlando Business Journal. September 4, 2003. 
  14. ^ Wisniewski, Mary (March 24, 2012). "Rallies held around country for Trayvon Martin". Reuters. Retrieved March 25, 2012. 
  15. ^ Copeland, Larry (March 23, 2012). "Trayvon Martin rally draws thousands in call for arrest". USA Today. Retrieved March 25, 2012. 
  16. ^ Hamacher, Brian. "George Zimmerman Makes First Appearance Before Judge". NBC Miami. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  17. ^ "Governor Rick Scott Announces New State Attorney and Task Force in Response to Trayvon Martin Incident". Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Mayor, 2 others vote 'no confidence' in police chief". WKMG Orlando. Retrieved March 22, 2012. 
  19. ^ Luscombe, Richard (21 June 2012). "Trayvon Martin case police chief sacked". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  20. ^ "Cecil Smith to serve as Sanford's new police chief". CFN13. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  21. ^ Hernández, Arelis R. (March 28, 2011). "Problem cops: State notes sharp rise in disciplined officers". Orlando Sentinel. 
  22. ^ "Officer Messages 'Embarrass' Sanford Police Department". NMT/WKMG. February 6, 2010. 
  23. ^ a b "Suspended Cop Part Of Influential Family". WFTV. February 2, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Police Dept. Calls Officer's Actions "Unsafe"". WFTV. January 10, 2011. 
  25. ^ Shan, Janet (August 15, 2011). "Sanford FL Police Officer Ned Golden II Fired for Falsely Accusing Teco Livingston of Attempted Murder". The Hinterland Gazette. 
  26. ^ Synan, Mike (August 16, 2011). "Surveillance video released in Sanford Police Officer firing". FOX 35 News. 
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Florida police chief out over investigation involving lieutenant's son". CNN. January 3, 2011. 
  30. ^ Sanford cop fired over conduct in drug buy, by Rene Stutzman, Orlando Sentinel, 5 April 2011
  31. ^ Sanford officer charged with leaving accident scene,, 4 December 2012
  32. ^ Former Sanford cop accused of bribery turns self in, 2 November 2011, News
  33. ^ Sanford officer pleads no contest to taking bribe, by Rene Stutzman, 27 December 2013, Orlando Sentinel
  34. ^ Sanford man shocked by officer's Taser awarded $75,000 settlement, 2 July 2014,
  35. ^ Sanford officer fired for activating Taser while inmates cleaned patrol cars; WFTV.Com, dated 1 August 2014, accessed 9 August 2014

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