FORT LAUDERDALE — The state agency that certifies law enforcement officers will take no action against Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti’s top assistant over an unreported disciplinary action related to a 2004 incident.
The case involved Donald Prichard, 28, a Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) deputy who became Lamberti’s executive officer in 2010. He was appointed to the position three years after an arbitrator upheld a 10-day unpaid suspension and six years after the actual incident.
The disciplinary action centered on his failure to respond to an emergency 911 call to which he was dispatched that involved pit bulls mauling a homeowner’s pet dog.
The pet dog was killed in the attack and the homeowner complained about Prichard not showing up. A BSO internal affairs investigation concluded that Prichard engaged in conduct unbecoming an employee, was untruthful in his official logs, and failed to take suitable action.
Law enforcement agencies are required to investigate and then report any disciplinary action taken against officers to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). BSO failed to report the action taken against Prichard to state officials. Following published reports about it, FDLE requested the case file and began a review.
“This office has completed a review of the CJSTC-78 Form and investigative information submitted by your agency regarding the above-named officer. We have determined that there is no basis for any action by the Criminal Justice and Training Commission at this time,” R. Stacy Lehman, Training, and Research manager for the FDLE’s Criminal Justice Professionalism Program said in a letter to Lamberti dated April 26.
“This decision is based upon the finding that the misconduct does not fall within the parameters of a moral character violation, as defined by Rule 11B-27.0011, Florida Administrative Code,” the letter said.
FDLE reached its decision to close the case without taking action despite an internal affairs investigation, a BSO professional standards committee, as well as an independent arbitrator’s finding that the suspension was warranted.
FDLE officials said their determinations are “separate and distinct from any employing agency action, and in no way reflects upon their investigation, findings, conclusions, and/or disciplinary action.”
In a May 2 memorandum, FDLE officials approved Lehman’s recommendation.
“The circumstances surrounding the separation/misconduct of the above-named subject were reviewed by staff,” wrote FDLE case specialist Lee Stewart, a member of the agency’s Bureau of Standards, Professional Compliance Section. “As a result of the review, it was found that either the subject’s disciplinary action or the separation/misconduct cannot be proven. In light of this, it is recommended that the case be closed at this time.”
FDLE also reviewed whether BSO’s failure to submit the information constituted any violations. According to Stewart’s memo, “Staff determined that this case lacks clear and convincing evidence that a Moral Character violation of Official Reports/Truthfulness had occurred and recommends No Causing this case. Legal Concurs.”
Prichard, who had faced the possibility of having his law enforcement certification revoked, could not be reached for comment.
Prichard joined BSO in 2001 and served 14 months in Iraq after being hired. He opened a campaign account to run for the Davie Town Council in 2006 but later withdrew from the race.
He is also chairman of the 3,500-plus-member Broward Farm Bureau, a non-profit advocacy organization for farmers, ranchers, nurserymen and other agricultural interests.
He has had no other performance related issues since the 2004 incident.
Pictured Above: Donald Prichard