Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Public safety

Sheriff's deputy reinstated after internal affairs investigation

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A longtime Hernando County sheriff's deputy has returned to his post after a three-month suspension for what investigators say were violations of the agency's general order code and code of conduct during an encounter with a disoriented man earlier this year.

Investigation records show that Jeffrey Lamondra, a decade-long employee of the Sheriff's Office, gave a third party the disoriented man's legally protected information and "conducted a minimal investigation with little effort to bring (it) to a conclusion."

Lamondra was terminated by Sheriff Al Nienhuis on March 20, then reinstated by the agency's Career Service Board on April 28. His 90-day suspension was tacked back to the day he was fired, making him eligible to return to work last month.

On Feb. 12, Lamondra, 46, and fellow deputy Brian Schneider found the 60-year-old man wearing only underwear, standing outside Hernando County Family Branch YMCA on Mariner Boulevard in Spring Hill, according to investigation records.

Carrying only $64 cash and a catheter drainage bag, showing he was dehydrated, the 60-year-old man told the deputies he was looking for help, the report said. But they later told investigators they did not believe the man was in need of emergency medical care.

When the man could not remember his address, the deputies used their patrol car computer system to find it, then called a cab to take him there. When the driver arrived, Lamondra gave him a printed document listing the man's private information — a misuse of computerized records, investigators said.

The address listed was in Zephyrhills, according to the report. But when the cab stopped there, the man said it was not his home and refused to get out.

The cab driver told investigators the man seemed "out of it," so he called Zephyrhills Police, whose officers came and took the man into custody under the Baker Act, the report said. The man was treated for dehydration and a urinary tract infection at a local hospital.

Investigators determined that both Lamondra and Schneider "made a minimal effort to identify (the man's) medical situation or current place of residency," the report reads, putting them in violation of the agency's code of conduct performance expectations.

"Based on the facts and circumstances, both deputies exhibited an unwillingness or inability to perform the assigned task," the report continues. "By not conducting a thorough investigation ... another jurisdiction was forced to take action ... calling into question the standards and efficiency and professionalism of this agency."

Schneider, who was acting as a backup deputy to Lamondra during the incident, received a three-day suspension without pay, one-year suspension from the field training officer program and assigned mandatory completion of crisis intervention team training within six months.

Contact Megan Reeves at mreeves@tampabay.com. Follow @mareevs.

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