Police officer HAREVY AYERS fired after internal investigation
PUNTA GORDA, Fla. -
A Punta Gorda police officer is out of a job after an internal affairs investigation determined he put a woman's life at risk. It's one of ten allegations against him.
Investigators say Corporal Harvey Ayers lacked judgment when he allowed a citizen to play cop during a traffic stop.
"This morning we served him with the notice," says Punta Gorda Police Chief Butch Arenal. For Chief Arenal it boils down to trust.
"We're big on professionalism and more importantly, as a city-wide philosophy, accountability and honesty," the chief explains.
After several of his own captains came to him with concerns about Ayers, the chief launched an investigation this June. He says the investigation got bigger and bigger.
"One thing leads to another, leads to another and, before you know it, we're evaluating a whole shift of duty."
One infraction comes from a ride along on May 28, 2012. The department lets civilians ride with officers to see how they work. However, the internal affairs report states Ayers not only let the woman riding with him carry a gun, but told her to draw her weapon at one point. This violates policy because she wasn't a certified law enforcement officer. "We have strict criteria on observer ride alongs," Chief Arenal points out. Ayers had been on paid administrative leave since mid-June. "Obviously this is not a happy time for anyone here. We'll work though it and work our way through his appeals process," Arenal says.