Region's top FDLE official takes early retirement

By ABBIE VANSICKLE, Times Staff Writer
Published October 31, 2007

TAMPA - The local leader of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement left his post Monday to begin early retirement.

Lance H. Newman, a 23-year veteran of the agency, announced his retirement in a two-sentence statement.

His decision came five days after the agency opened an investigation into his second-in-command, Moses Jordan.

Jordan turned in his agency-issued 40-caliber handgun and badge Oct. 24 as investigators looked into allegations that he violated department policy, according to state FDLE spokeswoman Kristen Perezluha.

Jordan is on paid administrative leave, she said. She declined to go into any specifics about the allegations.

Newman's departure had nothing to do with the investigation into Jordan, she said.

"The two situations are not related," she said "It's just the timing is just coincidental."

Newman, 54, joined the FDLE in 1984. He took over Tampa's top spot in October 2002. His role was to oversee the Tampa region, an eight-county area that includes Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties.

"The commissioner commends his contributions to the region and the department," Perezluha said in a phone interview Tuesday.

No news release has been issued about his retirement, she said.

In a two-sentence memo dated Monday, Newman said he planned to use annual leave and officially retire Jan. 3.

"I appreciate the opportunity that I have had to serve the citizens of and visitors to the state of Florida as well as all of the members of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center," the memo reads.

Newman was part of an early retirement program. He had until 2009 to retire, Perezluha said. His salary was $114,344.

The Tampa Police Department declined to comment on Newman's departure.

Through a spokeswoman, Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee gave this comment: "Lance will be deeply missed."

Jordan, 47, has been the assistant special agent in charge of the Tampa region since 1998. He joined the agency in 1995, Perezluha said. His current salary is $97,448.

The FDLE wants to find a replacement for Newman in the next few weeks. In the meantime, other special agents in charge will fill in for the opening.

Times news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Abbie VanSickle can be reached at vansickle@sptimes.com or 813 226-3373.