FORT LAUDERDALE — Less than a week after the Rev. Richard “Rick” Braswell was forced to resign as chaplain of the Broward Sheriff’s Office amid harassment allegations, several municipalities are now reconsidering his future with their police departments.
Besides his duties at BSO, Braswell also serves as the volunteer law enforcement chaplain for several cities and other agencies but that may now be in jeopardy.
One of them is the city of Pembroke Pines.
“Richard Braswell has served the Pembroke Pines police department as a volunteer chaplain for several years,” Pembroke Pines City Manager Charles F. Dodge said in an e-mail to South Florida Times. “In light of the recent media reports regarding his services to another law enforcement agency, the city will be reviewing his status with the city.”
Braswell once served as chaplain for the Fort Lauderdale police department. He currently presides over the Fraternal Order of Police union’s annual memorial for fallen officers in the city.
“I have not had a chance to talk to Chaplain Braswell, nor have I seen the case from BSO,” Jack Lokiensky, FOP president, told South Florida Times.
Lokiensky said the union would make a determination after it has reviewed the case before reaching a decision on his future.
He also is the volunteer chaplain for the Sunrise police department. Officials in that city said they are also undertaking a review to determine if they will continue to use his services.
“We don’t have any information yet but the issue is being taken up and a decision will be made,” said Sgt. Rodney Haley, public information officer for the Sunrise police department.
Braswell, 65, who served as BSO’s chaplain for more than 22 years, abruptly resigned after this newspaper broke a story in its Oct. 13 edition that he was the target of an internal investigation into workplace harassment and civil rights violation allegations.
“I have requested a copy of the file but was informed the investigation is ongoing,” said Braswell’s attorney, Bruce H. Little. “I don’t know anything other than what I read in your paper.”
BSO has not released any information on the matter despite several requests from South Florida Times.
The investigation centers on complaints by five BSO employees who alleged Braswell engaged in abusive conduct towards staff, created a hostile work environment, used insulting language, groped women and even made romantic advances toward some members of his staff.
Other women have now come forward and are making similar allegations to South Florida Times.
Braswell was called into a meeting on Oct. 18 and told it would be his last day on the job, sources said. His resignation form was reportedly already prepared.
He was told to gather his personal belongings and was escorted from the Ron Cochran Public Safety building by Dep. Donald Pritchard, who is Sheriff Al Lamberti’s executive officer. His remaining items were boxed up and delivered to his home over the weekend.
“He basically said if you don’t want me here, then I don’t want to be here,” Little said.
Braswell attended The Citadel, a military college located in Charleston, S.C., for one year, withdrawing in 1965 without a degree. He enrolled at Furman College in Greenville, S.C., from 1967 to 1969 but did not graduate. He formally withdrew from Furman in 1970.
According to his BSO employment application, he also attended Anderson Junior College, in Anderson, S.C., and graduated with an associate’s degree in arts. The application also shows he later attended Dallas Baptist College and earned a Bachelor of Science in religion in 1978.
Braswell stands to collect a lump sum payment for unused sick, vacation, and other leave time he has accumulated during his tenure at BSO. Officials have not responded to questions about what that amount will be. He is also entitled to a state pension.
***Pictured above is former BSO Chaplain Rick Braswell