Brooksville, Florida - It's the kind of news conference Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis does not want to have.
On Friday morning the Sheriff outlined the investigations that took down two veteran law enforcement officers. Although the cases are separate, both men face charges linked to stealing cash.
"This betrayal of trust has left me angry," Nienhuis told reporters. "Both of these individuals took an oath and both of them have betrayed that oath."
Deputy Michael Glatfelter resigned Thursday after being confronted by investigators. He'd been with the Sheriff's office 24 years and his record his filled with commendations.
Glatfelter is accused of misusing his position as treasurer of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #164. Over a period of years he used the group's debit card to make personal purchases at stores like Walmart and also withdrew #14,000 in cash.
Investigators say Glatfelter also took money from the Scott Bierwiler Memorial Fund. Captain Bierwiler was killed in a 2009 car crash while on the job. According to the Sheriff, that's about as low as you can get. "Very, very upset-when you steal money from a widow and her family," Nienhuis said.
Steve Klapka, the past president of the Nature Coast FOP says of the theft, "We are saddened, upset and in disbelief." Klapka says the group will make sure that Bierwiler's widow Angie receives the $1,100 that was stolen and that the FOP has also now tightened its financial procedures.
In a separate investigation that spanned months, Sergeant Joseph Reid is accused of taking money intended for vice operations and spending it on personal items. The 12-year veteran of the Sheriff's office also resigned on Thursday.
Both officers face formal charges of grand theft and organized scheme to defraud. The third-degree felonies carry possible 5-year-prison terms and fines of up to $5,000.
Hernando residents like Gloria White say they expect better from their public servants. "We teach our children to trust the police," she said. "To me it's really bad and it shouldn't have happened."
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