Monday, July 9, 2007

Have We Become a Nation of Hypocrites? Police Hires Cocaine User

Key West,Florida

Police Makes Exception for Cocaine in Hiring of Police Officer
As reported by by Dennis Reeves Cooper June 29, 2007

Police Chief Mauldin waived drug-use guideline that would have prevented hiring of Jose Menendez' son as a police officer for recent (2003) cocaine use
Chief also stonewalling on public records request for video of lie detector test

Police Chief Bill Mauldin may have given Key West Police Officer Manuel “Manny” Menendez preferential treatment when Mauldin waived departmental policies concerning the use of illegal drugs to allow Menendez to attend the Police Academy in mid-2005. Officer Menendez, 36, is the son of City Commissioner Jose Menendez.

The “Past Illegal Drug Use Guidelines” provided to all Police Academy applicants states that the KWPD will not consider for hire any person who has any history of usage of illegal drugs, including heroin, crack cocaine, opiates, methadone, LSD and PCP. On his application, Menendez admitted that he had last used cocaine in 2003.

Mauldin also waived the drug policy when Manny Menendez applied to become a parking enforcement specialist for the KWPD, a civilian job, in January 2005. The department’s Past Illegal Drug Use Guidelines for civilian employees prohibits the hiring of anyone who has used cocaine within five years of the date of application. Menendez’ admitted cocaine use had been less than two years earlier.

Menendez’ applications for both jobs, a copy of the Past Illegal Drug Use Guidelines and Mauldin’s signed waivers, which made it possible for Menendez to be considered for both jobs, are included in Menendez’ personnel file, which KWTN obtained as a public record from the City’s Human Resources Department.

KWTN also sent Chief Mauldin an email on June 19 asking about other employees for whom he may have signed drug waivers. At press time, he had not responded. The email also asked Mauldin if he had been pressured by either Commissioner Menendez or former City Manager Julio Avael to give the younger Menendez preferential treatment. He has not responded to that question either.Before Mayor Morgan McPherson abruptly stripped Avael of the title and responsibilities of City Manager on June 6, Avael had outraged the majority of the City Commission by giving Mauldin and two other City employees special $10,000 raises.

When Manny Menendez was hired by the KWPD as a parking enforcement specialist, his own driver’s license had reportedly been suspended. On his application, he explained that he had been unable to pay the fines.

One of the requirements to become a Key West police officer is to successfully pass a lie detector test— a Computer Voice Stress Analysis (CVSA). Reportedly, during Menendez’ CVSA session, Detective Dan Allen asked Menendez about his drug use. Sources report that Menendez became irate, yelling at Allen that he didn’t have to answer that question. “Don’t you know who my father is?” he reportedly yelled at Allen.

Sources inside the Police Department say that the CVSA sessions are routinely video recorded. KWTN has sent Mauldin three different Public Records requests asking to view the video of Menendez’ session. At press time, he had not responded to any of the requests.

Mauldin is required by Florida’s Public Records Law to respond to all Public Records requests and, if he does not intend to provide the documents or other material requested, to explain why.

The only problem that I have regarding hiring police officers that do drugs , (regardless of who their father is) is that these police officers are responsible for putting behind bars, a large number of children, men and women.

A lot of these are mothers, disrupting their lives forever and severing family ties, all of this for non violent offenses such as occasional recreational drug use.

The general consensus, is that a great disservice is being done to our nation and if our forefathers could see this, they would turn in their graves. How can we be expected to trust police officers who lock up citizens, for long periods of time, the very same police officers that admit to cocaine(hard drug use ) and are still hired to put others behind bars, perhaps for more lenient crimes such as marijuana use!

These officers that use recreational drugs, some considered (hard) drugs such as cocaine and they openly admit to it in their job applications and they are still hired to lock up their fellow citizens for far less crimes. How far have we come?

This is not the America I know ! Is this the America You Want?

Title and italics mine for emphasis.

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