Sheriff Donald F Eslinger
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"Seminole County Sheriff's Dept. named in FHP Trooper's Civil Rights Lawsuit!"

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and guess what gift our Honorable Sheriff Donald Francis Eslinger has given to the Citizens of Seminole County Florida to end one year and start another. Well if you guessed another Federal Civil Rights lawsuit then you guessed right. But do not worry, I am sure that there will be more taxpayer funded litigation which we will be required to spend our tax dollars on before too long. Knowing the quality of several of the deputy sheriff’s under Sheriff Eslingers leadership there will always be a violation of someone’s Civil Rights along the way.

And such is the gift that we the Citizens of Seminole County received on December 21, 2012 which was filed in the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida, West Palm Beach Division. (1) Now how is this a gift? Well back in May 31, 2012 an Administrative Investigation was conducted by Investigator Joy L. Jackson (formerly known as Joy L. Laney aka Joy L. Williams) which verified that Investigator Larry Pirkola had violated the Federally protected Civil Rights of a Florida citizen. (2)

The punishment handed down by our fine Sheriff was a Written Reprimand on June 1, 2012. (3)So exactly how is this a gift? Well prior to being named in the Federal lawsuit Sheriff Eslinger had the ability to settle with the victim at a minimal expense to the taxpayers of Seminole County. Since his own investigation proved that Investigator Larry Pirkola had committed the Civil Rights violation what was there to argue. But then when it is not your money which pays the bills of the lawyers, who really cares? After all, we all know how easy it is to make money these days so why not throw it away. At the time of this article we are unable to determine if a settlement was entered into since the December 21, 2012 filing of the law suit.

So what’s the big deal, so a Seminole County deputy violated someone’s rights. They probably deserved it. After all our deputies are law abiding public servants. But there is one problem. The victim in this case is a Florida Highway Patrol Trooper by the name of Donna Jane Watts whose entire life changed on October 10, 2011. On this date Trooper "Watts lawfully pursued a marked City of Miami Police Department patrol car for twelve - and-a-half miles that was driving erratically and at an excessive rate of speed of at least 120 miles per hour before it finally stopped." (4)

Trooper Watts did her job. She issued a citation to Officer Lopez and in doing so violated the unwritten code. How dare this Trooper handcuff a fellow law enforcement officer. How dare she write this Officer a traffic citation. Just who does she think she is that she would treat Officer Lopez like any other driver. Well in our opinion, Trooper Watts extended to Officer Lopez the courtesy of not arresting his reckless _ _ _. Well Trooper Watts would soon learn that there is a price to be paid for having integrity.

The price would be in the entire change to her career for which she had honorably worked for 25 years. Imagine for a moment that one day you are part of a brotherhood which protects one another and that you believe that this protection is with honorable officers and in one instance you discover that the brotherhood applies to corrupt officers as well. You find yourself getting strange phone calls, pranks being placed on you at your home. Strange vehicles appear in front of your house and then someone smears human feces on your car. And then finally you are told by one of your supervisors that they feel that it is no longer safe for you to be on patrol.

Now image for a moment that over 88 different law enforcement officers from 25 different agencies have illegally accessed computer records which they have access to in order to find out where you live. And here is where our fine Seminole County Deputy Sheriff enters the picture. On November 10, 2011 Investigator Larry Pirkola used his position as a Seminole County Deputy Sheriff to access the Florida Driver and Vehicle Information Database (D.A.V.I.D) to obtain personal information on Trooper Watts.

According to the report by Investigator Joy L. Jackson, Investigator Larry “Pirkola admitted the query was a violation of the restricted computerized systems policy, but at the time it occurred ‘it didn’t even come to my mind’ as a violation of policy”.(2) So once again we have another of Sheriff Eslingers deputies violating both Federal and State laws and how is this person punished. That’s right stick out your hand so Sheriff Eslinger can give you a little slap. And do not worry the citizens of Seminole County will foot the bill for the high priced lawyer to defend your stupidity and criminal actions.

Here is a suggestion. Deputy Pirkola why don’t you man up and apologize to Trooper Watts publically, you pay her for violating her rights and resign from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. We as Citizens are getting rather tired of paying for criminals who are wearing badges and causing harm to other citizens let alone fellow officers.

But we doubt that this will happen. Somewhere down the road a settlement will be reached and of course there will be no mention of liability. The lawyers that the Sheriff gives work to will accept their well earned pay checks, and the Sheriff’s Self Insurance Trust Fund will cut a check. The citizens of Seminole County will get stuck with yet another law breaking deputy and the honest men and women who wear our uniform will watch yet another bad cop get away with something.

As for Sheriff Eslinger well since no one had the courage to run against him we are stuck with him for at least four years or until someone else will come along who will continue the fine legacy that Sheriff Eslinger has left us with. If history is to repeat itself we can look forward to a promotion for Investigator Pirkola and maybe a transfer to Professional Standards. Or how about a promotion to lieutenant and a move to records which would then allow Lt. Jay Laney to become Captain.

You see in the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office bad behavior is rewarded. After all, look how the Sheriff went from dispatcher to Sheriff in 11 years.

Well as this story progresses we at will try to keep you up to date and see how much more of our taxpayer dollars can be wasted on the actions of a few stupid Deputies.

Click on below documents:

  1. Federal case number 9:12-cv-81406-xxxx
  2. SCSO Administrative Investigation PC-12-0024
  3. Written Reprimand, June 1, 2012
  4. Page 32 of Federal Complaint Line 170
  5. Video tape of Traffic Stop by Trooper Watts
  6. 18 United States Code Section 2721 et al
  7. Florida State Statute 768.28
  8. Florida Constitution Article 1, Section 23
  9. Transcription of interview of Deputy Sheriff Larry Pirkola Investigation PC-12-0024

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing"
-Edmund Burke