Recently I had a conversation with a deputy I frequently talk with. We discussed a few different things like Sheriff Chip Simmons, morale of the agency and employees that are still shining bad light on the ECSO. It was an honest conversation about the overall aura of the agency. Here is how the conversation went:
JS: So how is the morale of the agency?
Deputy: We expected, when Chip was running for office, he would run through the doors and give the agency back to the good employees that want to do good in the community. But there has been little movement in ridding the agency of the cancer. There are still “problem” employees or in some cases, criminals within the agency.
JS: Isn’t he concerned about looking like an extension of Morgan?
Deputy: It is rumored he wants to be viewed differently than Morgan and understandably so. However, keeping the holdovers that destroyed the optics of the department will only fuel the people claiming Chip is more of the same. The fact of the matter is it appears Chip has done little to hold people accountable for their actions and this continues to make the ECSO lose respect in the community.
JS: Doesn’t he realize he is under a microscope and by allowing those “hold-overs to remain, he is still destroying the potential the community had for him?
Deputy: He has been lackluster in his efforts to regain the confidence of the employees. People should never be harassed, and Simmons should not involve the department as the arena for political retribution that we witnessed under Morgan’s tyrannical regime. He had a front row seat of the destruction of good people at the hands of incompetent bullies under the command of Morgan and Eric Haines.
JS: Right. Joe Zarzaur pulled the curtain back on many of the shenanigans in the ECSO.
Deputy: Lie after lie has been identified in sworn testimony given by Morgan and Haines. Haines was even identified as a person with animus toward women in his command. Judge Vinson said that in a federal lawsuit filed against the ECSO involving Morgan and Haines. Yet Chip retains Haines and seems unlikely to make Haines answer for his poor leadership decisions and actions. Granted those actions happened before Chip, but Haines is still an employee and his actions on behalf of the agency will always remain relevant whether they happened yesterday or last year.
JS: You and I spoke about the recent shooting. Others have reached out to echo your views on this. That seems to be a circumstance created by Mindy and Haines that reared its ugly head.
Deputy: You mean, Sgt. Veltkamp? Most all of us believed her actions were questionable. It was difficult to have much sympathy for her because prior to being promoted, many felt she was a weak deputy and had trouble making good decisions. Her mental condition is in question here, as well. Imagine if she were an accurate shot, she’d have killed an innocent citizen on his property. In today’s climate, every deputy is afraid of being crucified. With cell phones and cameras, most of us are over cautious. Because you never know if one of your dumbass decisions will be played constantly until your family is harassed and the jobs are gone. What scares the hell out of me is that Sgt. Veltkamp has a position of authority with a known mental deficiency or at least an inability to manage emotions.
It is unfair to the agency and Sgt. Veltkamp. Maybe the friends that were attempting to cover up her breakdown were not actually friends. Did her friend help her or just kick the can down the road for a more serious incident to happen later? I think the incident that put Veltkamp in the spotlight speaks for itself.
JS: Do we know if she is stable at this point? What follow up was done to assure her emotional and mental fitness for the job?
Deputy: Unfortunately, Veltkamp could be a victim of circumstance. Her emotional state may not have been as serious as it seems. However, when your closet friends have lost credibility and proven they are less than truthful people, the perception makes everybody question. Mindy Young is the friend believed to be most instrumental in the cover up. Hell, look at Mindy. We all saw the texts that came out that showed she planned the demise of a complainant officer in an investigation she was conducting. She plotted to cause the employee to feel her “sting” with the subject officer in the complaint. This is proven with actual text messages that exchanged between Mindy Young and Eric Haines. This is beyond disgusting and a violation of Florida law.
I certainly wish the best for Sgt. Veltkamp. But some people are not made to be in law enforcement, or any position giving them a gun. I hope some leadership, some place at the ECSO will pick up this issue and remove the problems and the criminals of the days of inept leadership under the Morgan regime.
JS: I heard from someone else that Veltkamp was cleared of the shooting.
Deputy: I believe that is true. In honesty, there is no record of her psychiatric state in the past, thanks to Mindy. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have issues that people need to be aware of. Maybe it is even more important for her psychological status be more widely known. The man in the store is very lucky. Next time, people may not be so lucky.
JS: But as a few people have brought forth info, is there really good reason to be concerned about Veltkamp?
Deputy: Without a doubt. A seasoned officer with a clear head would not be in the situation she found herself in. I hate to say, this makes female officers look bad all around. Veltkamp’s problems play into the stereotype that female officers are weak and are liabilities because of their emotional reaction. I don’t find that to be true, but she certainly makes the case that can be used against other women in law enforcement.