SEBASTIAN, Florida -- The Sebastian Police Department announced on Sunday the arrest and relief of duty of a veteran police sergeant for allegedly trafficking in Oxycodone and tampering with evidence, both felonies, following an independent investigation requested by the Police Chief.
The sergeant has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending a decision on formal criminal charges by the local prosecutor’s office. A subsequent internal administrative investigation will also be conducted to determine any administrative action, to include termination.
Sgt. William Grimmich, a 25 year veteran of the Department, who has served in patrol, investigations, narcotics and as a supervisor, was relieved of duty Saturday evening and normal administrative suspension procedures were put in place, the Department said in a statement. He has served as the supervisor of the Investigations Division in the past, but has been a Road Patrol Sergeant for the past 3 years. Sebastian Police Chief Michelle Morris stated that routine accounting and auditing procedures earlier this year revealed discrepancies in submission of controlled substances placed into the evidence room. This discovery led the Chief to immediately request an independent investigation by outside agencies. That investigation was supported by the State Attorney’s Office for Florida's 19th Judicial Circuit.
“I wanted an impartial investigation by an outside agency to avoid any appearance of bias,” said Chief Morris. “Our ultimate goal is to determine exactly what occurred, who was responsible and whether this was the result of an incompetent work performance or malicious criminal behavior. I will not tolerate any misconduct of this nature.” Chief Morris further stated “While this situation is gravely disappointing, it shows the effectiveness of the good accountability systems we have in place.”
Sebastian has been an accredited agency for over 12 years. The Commission For Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA) requires meeting stringent best practice standards in law enforcement. “We have consistently met those standards for over a decade,” Chief Morris stated. “The Sebastian Police Department recently completed our fourth reaccreditation on-site inspection and received an excellent preliminary report on our agency and its procedures.”
“Because this is an on-going investigation, it is inappropriate to discuss any details of the case,” the Chief explained. “It is now in the hands of the State Attorney’s Office. We will await their decisions before completing our internal investigation.”
Due process rights and existing employment laws dictate agencies relieve law enforcement officers with pay until formal criminal charges are determined.