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HCSO Intelligence Unit Disbanded, Under Investigation, Sources Say

BROOKSVILLE - More problems for the leadership at the Hernando County Sheriff's Office after sources say a Special Investigations Unit [SEU] was suddenly disbanded due to multiple violations committed by the elite squad.

Officials have not commented on the allegations, but according to our source within the agency, at least five detectives were removed and placed on regular patrol, pending the outcome of Internal Affairs Investigations.

According to the source, "The SEU unit has been disbanded, leaving only one out of the five detectives in the unit. The detective who remains will not be named. There is an active IA which is about the unit being caught lying on timesheets, regularly working fewer hours than accounted for, using excessive force, and using their work vehicles for personal use."

An interoffice memo delivered last Friday allegedly identifies those placed on regular patrol as Det. Greg Garman, Det. John Longobardi, Det. Richard Killingsworth, and Sgt. Steve Johnson, according to the source.

There are allegations that the dismantlement and current IA Investigations are a direct result of the recent forced resignation of former deputy Joseph McClellan, the deputy accused of being the leader of the agency sex club. The source says McClellan served as a "patsy" or "fall guy," because the Matthew Puglia lawsuit "makes the Sheriff look bad as election time approaches."

We asked our source if a press conference would be held to discuss the development, but they said, "I doubt the SO will have a press conference. They seem to only release information in an attempt to release it before you do so they can get the story line to look the way they want."


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