Sheriff Donald F Eslinger
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Oviedo Police Department

A place where privacy rights have no meaning

Earlier this year SeminoleWatch.com published a story titled “ D.A.V.I.D is Not A Dating Service “. (1) While the title seems amusing the facts surrounding the story are disgusting. The Internal Investigation of Sergeant Dwayne L. Walker proved that he illegally accessed highly restricted personal information contained in a computer data base in order to get personal information on a woman. Not only did this “officer” violate this Citizens privacy rights but those of two other Citizens at the same time. But then this “officer” took it one step further. You see this “officer” thought it would be a good idea to park his marked Oviedo Police Vehicle in the parking lot of the place of employment and then follow her as she left her work. Let us not forget that there was no law enforcement purpose to access her drivers’ license let alone to follow her. And never forget that this “officer” was armed during this entire incident.

While the initial intent of this follow up story was to see what had occurred to former Sgt. Walker, as fate would have it, another story has developed. After Sgt. Walker was informed that the City of Oviedo intended to fire him, he tendered his resignation. And guess what? The City of Oviedo accepted his resignation and once again permitted this public servant to put on all future job applications that he was not fired. Oh, well what could we expect?

After a law enforcement officer leaves his employment the agency is required to send a few documents to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Criminal Justice Standards and Training Center (CJSTC). These forms permit other citizens and potential future law enforcement agencies to see why the officer left his last job. In the case of Dwayne L. Walker the CJSTC 61 Form advised: (2)

"Voluntary separation or retirement in lieu of termination for violation of Section 943.13(4), F.S., or violation of moral character standards as defined in Rule 11B-27.0011, F.A.C."

In addition to this form a CJSTC Form 61A was submitted which provided a detailed description of the Misconduct. (3)

And here is where the new story developed.

Enter Lieutenant Mike Beavers of the Oviedo Police Department. It is the internal investigation which Lt. Beavers conducted which resulted in Sgt. Walker resigning. Note the word internal investigation. For some unexplained reason no criminal investigation was started against Sgt. Walker, there will be more to discuss about this later.

While gathering documents to support our story Lt. Mike Beavers provided the two aforementioned forms to SeminoleWatch.com. After all we are all about having proof to back up our stories.

Now you have to understand that Lt. Beavers was fully aware of the criminal conviction of this writer for income tax evasion and willful failure to file income tax returns. Even with that knowledge, Lt. Beavers did something careless if not possibly criminal.

Let us not forget that Lt. Beavers wears many hats at the Oviedo Police Department. He is the professional standards investigator and Public Information Officer. One would assume that he would have the knowledge and training to understand what information should be released as a result of a public records request and what information should not be released. But maybe we are wrong, maybe the Chief of Police would permit an untrained, unqualified and ignorant person to release records. Time permitted, maybe we can obtain Lt. Beavers training records to see if he is qualified to understand Florida State Statute 119.07 (Florida Public Records Law).

So where is this going? Well, Lt. Beavers for whatever reason failed to redact/ remove certain information off of the two forms which he provided to SeminoleWatch.com. So what is the big deal? How would you like it if the guy who investigated you for violating the privacy rights of three people then violated your privacy rights? So what information was released? This highly trained, professional, experienced law enforcement officer gave out the Social Security Number, home address and home telephone number of a law enforcement officer who had just resigned. Yes, Lt. Beavers did just that.

But then in this day of identity theft not to mention officer safety is it really important? Yes it is! While Dwayne L. Walker deserved to be fired, in our opinion, no one had the right to violate Dwayne Walkers rights. As the saying goes two wrongs do not make a right.

What if Dwayne Walkers information had been provided to a person who would have used that information to cause Dwayne Walker financial harm or heaven forbid cause him physical harm?

Well unlike Lt. Beavers, we at SeminoleWatch.com respect the privacy of law enforcement officers and as such will protect the information which was provided to us.

But you would think that these actions by Lt. Beavers would put a close to this chapter. But oh no, it gets even better. Information was obtained that the victim in our previous story after having discovered our story and having spoken with yet another victim of illegal D.A.V.I.D accesses, filed formal criminal charges with the Oviedo Police Department approximately one week ago.

On August 28, 2013 a public records request was sent to Lt. Beavers following a telephone call in which Lt. Beavers admitted that he failed to redact the information and forwarded it to the clerk's office who also failed to redact the information prior to it being forwarded to SeminoleWatch.com. (4) In our request we ask that once Mr. Walker was advised that his personal information had been released that we be provided with a copy of this written notification.

On September 4, 2013, Lt. Beavers replied to our public records request and advised:

"Those forms were sent to you in error without having Mr. Walker’s social security number and home address redacted."

“Attached please find new redacted copies of both forms. Please destroy any previous copies of the CJSTC 61 and CJSTC 61A forms you received from the City of Oviedo in your possession.”

“Mr. Walker will be notified of this incident, a copy of which you will receive once it has been drafted and sent.” (5)

Yes you read it right. Mr. Walker had not even been advised that he might be a victim of a crime and yet Lt. Beavers is instructing SeminoleWatch.com to “destroy any previous copies…” But then he did say please. One really has to laugh at the irony of this whole comedy of errors. But then there really is not anything funny when your privacy is violated and you are stuck with that feeling that my personal information is in the hands of someone that you do not know.

So what does a law abiding Citizen do when a law enforcement office in writing directs, tells, instructs you to “destroy any previous copies”? Well naturally we are to obey law enforcement. After all they are the law and if you do not obey a law enforcement officer you go to jail. Or do you?

So here we have a police Lieutenant with the Oviedo Police Department, directly under the supervision of only the Chief of Police, giving an order to do what sounds like destroying possible evidence of a possible crime. Remember that Dwayne Walker does not even know what has happened yet. So what happens if the copies get destroyed and then Dwayne Walker, is so angry that he lost his job and that now a criminal investigation is being requested of him, and Dwayne Walker wants criminal charges investigated against Lt. Beavers. Oh well, the evidence is destroyed. Would you like to bet on how long before the State Attorney would have us arrested for destroying evidence?

Needless to say the copies were not destroyed and a phone call was placed to Chief Jeffrey Chudnow. Chief Chudnow advised that he was aware of the email communication to and from Lt. Beavers and was aware of the direction/order/request to destroy the copies. Chief Chudnow advised that Lt. Beavers had obtained legal counsel and that legal counsel had instructed Lt. Beavers to have SeminoleWatch.com destroy the copies. Chief Chudnow did not identify the “legal Counsel”. Chief Chudnow did advise that he did not believe that there was any “intent” on the part of Lt. Beavers to violate any law but that he ( Chief Chudnow ) would open an internal investigation into the matter.

Would you like to bet where this investigation is going? The Chief has not even started his investigation and he already believes that there was no “intent”. But in all fairness to Chief Chudnow he did admit that he needed to research the Florida Statute to see if intent was needed.

The question then presents itself. Did Chief Chudnow know of the direction to destroy the copies before or after the email was sent? We are sure that the truth will come out in the internal investigation conducted by the Oviedo Police Dept.

Having spoken with Chief Chudnow, an attempt was made to contact the Attorney for the City, Mr. Lonnie Groot. In order to be fair an email was forwarded to Mr. Groot advising of this incident. (6) At the time of this story the “legal counsel” has not been identified.

Almost six hours later at 9:58 PM, Mr. Lonnie Groot provided his professional legal reply to our correspondence. As a side bar, it would be interesting to see how much it will cost the City of Oviedo for the time and energy which was required for Mr. Lonnie Groot to dig up this reply. In Mr. Lonnie Groots reply he advised:

“I have reviewed your email and evaluated your comments and I do not agree with your characterization of the matter.”

“Lieutenant Beavers asked you to “please” destroy records that had been, candidly, been provided to you in a form that was not intended and had not been cleared.”

“Lieutenant Beavers did not instruct you to do anything, he asked you to be courteous and do the right thing. Asking someone to “please” do something is hardly an instruction.” (7)

Yes you heard it right from the horses mouth. So the next time you are in the City of Oviedo Florida and a Police Officer begins his conversation with the word “PLEASE”, just ignore everything after the “PLEASE”. Such as:

PLEASE exit your vehicle!
PLEASE remain in your vehicle!
PLEASE hand me your drivers’ license, insurance card and registration!
PLEASE sign the ticket!
PLEASE stop resisting!
PLEASE drop the knife!
PLEASE put down the gun!

Just remember that everything after the word “please” is hardly an instruction”. As previously advised, we at SeminoleWatch.com are not attorneys and as such cannot give any legal advice but in this case we offer our common sense opinion.

When any Law Enforcement Officer asked you to do anything and begins his command with the word “PLEASE”. He or she means for you to do or stop doing it it NOW!

Just because the Officer is being “courteous” in no way is to be considered anything other than you are in the presence of a professional Law Enforcement Officer who is politely instructing you to either do something or to stop doing something.

But then you can rely on the professional advice of the highly educated, Board Certified City, County & Local Government Law, attorney by the name of Lonnie Groot , and gamble on his advice. But “PLEASE” if you elect to take this legal advice have bail money on you and the name of a good criminal attorney.

Then again, knowing our State Attorney Office, if a public servant gets legal advice from an attorney then all is forgiven. We at SeminoleWatch.com do not believe that this same courtesy will be provided to the common citizen. Please see our story titled “How to Break Laws In Seminole County”. (8)

Nothing happens by accident and that is exactly what happened next. A lot of people tend to hold what they know close to their chest. While this might be a safe way to go through life, when investigating corruption, you never know who has a piece of the puzzle unless you share what you know. It is because of this sharing that an anchor piece of the puzzle dropped in our lap.

On Monday, September 9, 2013, we obtained a copy of the Oviedo Police Departments Policy & Procedure #509, Subject : BIASED-BASED PROFILING.(9) In reading the policy the following direction of Chief of Police Jeffrey Chudnow was discovered:

“ E. The Department recognizes that experienced officers may develop individualized approaches that they find work best for them in minimizing conflict during officer/violator contacts. Given some better approach, the following is recommended, in the order specified below:”

“ …5. Politely ask for identification and any required documents. For example,

“May I please see your license, registration, and proof of insurance?”

Houston or should we say “Lonnie” we have a problem. But, wait it gets even better. If we are to believe the educated advice of Mr. Groot then we as citizens are to ignore everything after the “please”. Such as a recommended appropriate closing as stated in the policy:

“7. Give an appropriate closing. For example, … “Please drive carefully, your safety is important to us” is more appropriate.”

By Mr. Groot's logic the citizen does not need to listen to the officer and as such might as well drive recklessly away from the scene. After all there is that pesky word “PLEASE” once again. It is no wonder that the officers of the Oviedo Police Department continue to violate the rights of the Citizen. With advice like this do they really have a chance?

As to what happens next, only time will tell.

We at SeminoleWatch.com offer our opinion. No criminal charges will be filed against Mr. Walker for the numerous violations of law and Mr. Walker will not request prosecution of Lt. Beavers. The State Attorneys’ office will take no action in reference to the destruction request if it even makes it to their office. And considering the quality of the opinions of Mr. Groot his law firm will continue to be richly compensated at the expense of the taxpayers of the City of Oviedo.

To quote Lonnie Groot who likes to quote dead Presidents,

Abraham Lincoln once said, “a lawyer’s time and advice are his stock and trade.”

Enough said!

But “please” remember that this is only our opinion.

CLICK ON BELOW DOCUMENTS:

  1. Article: D.A.V.I.D. is NOT a Dating Service
  2. CJSTC Form 61
  3. CJSTC Form 61A
  4. August 28, 2013 Public Records Request
  5. September 4, 2013, request to destroy copies
  6. September 4, 2013 email to Lonnie Groot
  7. September 4, 2013 email from Lonnie Groot
  8. Article: How To Break Laws In Seminole County
  9. Oviedo Police Department Policy & Procedure #509
  10. Notice to Mr. Walker


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