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Sheriff's worker taped supervisor
The forensics technician cited a history of her words being misinterpreted. She was demoted.
By Joel Anderson, Times Staff Writer
Published February 26, 2008
BROOKSVILLE - The Sheriff's Office has released the results of an internal investigation in which a forensics technician was found to have illegally recorded several conversations with her supervisor.
Judith Banks was removed from the forensics section, where she had worked since 1993, and transferred to the department's Communications Center. The transfer is considered a demotion because of the change in salary range and retirement classification, said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Donna Black.
According to the investigation report, Banks used a digital recorder at least five times from Dec. 10 to Dec. 21 to document conversations with Tim Whitfield, director of forensic sciences for the Sheriff's Office. Banks told investigators she recorded their talks because of "the history of her words being taken out of context or twisted around."
Banks said she didn't tell Whitfield she was recording their conversations but didn't realize that was illegal. The recorder was found in the digital room of the department's forensics section Dec. 21 and turned in to internal affairs, according to the report.
The case was referred to Assistant State Attorney Don Barbee, who ruled Banks could be charged with a misdemeanor. Whitfield declined to pursue criminal charges against Banks, who has worked at the department since May 1989, because the case was being handled internally.
In another internal investigation, a deputy received verbal counseling after it was found that she slept while on duty.
Deputy Jennifer Perez was found dozing in her cruiser in the parking lot of a Hess gas station at Cortez Boulevard and Jefferson Street on the morning of Dec. 2. Perez, who has worked at the department since August 2005, told investigators she hadn't gotten much sleep the day before because her car broke down on the interstate and she had been caring for her terminally ill father.
The report ruled "the act was short and unintentional."