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December 01, 2006
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Fla. officers punished for relationship

By Ginny LaRoe
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

NORTH PORT- A North Port police officer and her former supervisor were reprimanded after an internal investigation found they began their relationship while on the same shift, according to an internal report released this week.

The inquiry was launched after Officer Melanie Turner's former roommate told police that Turner had threatened to hang herself under the tree where she and the patrol sergeant first kissed, records show.

The roommate also said Turner had threatened to shoot herself with her department-issued gun, and had abused alcohol and prescription drugs.

Investigators could not substantiate any of the claims about Turner being suicidal or abusing drugs or alcohol, but agreed she needed to undergo psychological evaluation and seek substance abuse counseling. She completed those requirements before returning to work this week.

"We owe it to the city that officers are not only physically fit but emotionally fit for duty," Chief Terry Lewis said about the punishment. It was his first formal disciplinary action since becoming chief in September.

Turner also was given a written reprimand for handcuffing her then-roommate and putting her in the back of her patrol car. Turner said it was a joke; her 20-year-old roommate didn't think so.

Sgt. Patrick Sachkar, who was Turner's supervisor on the night shift for several months while the two started a relationship, was suspended for one day without pay.

Sachkar said he didn't think his relationship with Turner violated department policy.

The two now work different shifts, according to the report.

Neither officer has a prior history of misconduct.

Turner was on paid leave during the investigation that began in August.

Copyright 2006 Sarasota Herald-Tribune Co.
All Rights Reserved

Full story: Fla. officers punished for relationship

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