The Bunnell Police Department has been riddled with internal problems for the past several years. The following is a list of firings, resignations and allegations going back only to 2005. As of June 2010, the department had 10 sworn officers, including Chief Arthur Jones, but not including its latest two fired officers, one of whom had been fired from the department before. (See the June 16 story on the latest arrests.)
- February 24, 2012: John and Lisa Murray plead no contest to lesser charges–marijuana possession for John, theft for Lisa–and avoid jail time. John is to serve 18 months’ probation, Lisa was to be on a pre-trial intervention for 12 months, completing which, the charge against her would be dismissed.
- July 2010, Randy Burke is re-hired.
- June 16, 2010, Officers John Murray and Lisa Murray: The married couple is informed that it will be fired by Friday following an internal and a State Attorney’s criminal investigation into corruption, abuse of power and drug charges. John Murray, who was fired in 2005 and reinstated in 2006, is charged with official misconduct, tampering or fabricating evidence, and crack cocaine possession. Lisa Murray is charged with two counts of official misconduct.
- March 8, 2010, Officer Russell Nasby: The 45-year-old police officer is fired following a four-month internal investigation over Nasby’s misuse of police computers to visit banned websites and conduct unauthorized searches in the state driver and vehicle database. The investigation was trigger by a Bunnell Elementary school teacher’s accusation that Nasby was stalking her.
- January 27, 2010, Cpl. Nick Massaro: The 2007 Bunnell Police Department Officer of the Year, Massaro, 25, resigns instead of facing disciplinary action after a seven-week internal investigation found he’d posted on Craigslist a sexually explicit ad inviting calls to a woman who was a friend of Massaro’s wife. The ad was posted without the woman’s knowledge. The investigation revealed that Massaro also used police databases for private purposes, and that he viewed porn, though Massaro denied the porn accusation, blaming the material on spam.
- April 24, 2009, Capt. Randy Burke: Police Chief Arthur Jones’ right-hand man at the time, Burke is fired after an internal examination concludes that he took $100 and a few household items ascribed as a gift to a Ed Culver, a former police officer in 2007. Burke was among the supervisors who’d signed off on Culver’s firing in 2007 for poor performance. Culver had had a hard time finding work after the firing, so his former colleagues pooled money and items together as a gift before Christmas 2007, and had Burke, who lived next-door to Culver, deliver the donation. Burke never did. In mid-August, 2010, Burke was reinstated with $53,000 back-pay as an arbitrator concluded that accusations against Burke were nut fully substantiated.
- April 24, 2009, Officer George Hristokopolis: After oral and written reprimands didn’t correct problems with his work performance, Hristokopolis is demoted from corporal to officer. Hristokopolis remains on the force.
- July 5, 2006, Irene Hosford and John Murray: The two former officers, fired a year earlier, are reinstated. The Bunnell City Commission, with just three commissioners present, votes 3-0 to agree to a settlement that reinstates the officers and awards them back-pay, including reimbursement for their olegal fees. Murray receives $29,000, Hosford receives $70,600. The settlement stipulates that by rehiring the two officers, the two will not pursue further legal action against the city.
- July 2006, Chief William Davis and former City Manager Lyndon Bonner: Steve Yelvington, a private investigator working for fired police officers Irene Hosford and John Murray, charges in a written complaint that then-Bunnell Police Chief William Davis and former City Manager Lyndon Bonner did not investigate Yelvington’s claim a year earlier that Sgt. Randy Burke mis-used his work computer to view porn.
- July 1, 2005, Officer Irene Hosford and Investigator John Murray: The pair is fired following an internal investigation headed by Randy Burke that accuses them of dereliction of duty, falsifying official documents and insubordination. The investigation was triggered when supervisors noticed their patrols were not being conducted as regularly, and when businesses complained that they were not getting proof, in the form of cards left at their places of business, that patrols were being conducted. Both fired officers dispute the charges.
The list, of course, is not complete: Bunnell was not a clean slate by any means before 2005. Nor does this list reflect firings and resignations within the administration of the city, which has also had its run of problems. The list will be updated in time and as warranted.