my comments to follow
Published on: Wednesday, January 07, 2009
New sheriff in town
Cameron sworn in as county's top cop
PUNTA GORDA -- Bill Cameron took a deep breath, and peered at his fellow officers in the crowd.
His first words as Charlotte County sheriff began with a joke.
Cameron explained how he is one of the select few who have been appointed and elected sheriff.
But he wouldn't recommend the latter for anyone thinking about seeking office.
"Appointed is the way to go," he said, as the auditorium erupted in laughter.
All kidding aside, Cameron was serious when he told his colleagues to serve the community like it's family.
Cameron, 47, was sworn in Tuesday morning before a group of co-workers, family and friends at the Center for Performing Arts and Education in Punta Gorda.
The ceremony marked Cameron's second stint as sheriff, having served briefly several years ago.
Cameron replaces John Davenport, who retired earlier this week.
"I just hope I can live up to your expectations," Cameron said to the group.
Cameron's career began in 1982 with the Fort Myers Police Department. Five years later, he joined the Lee County Sheriff's Office, where he remained until 2003.
He was appointed interim Charlotte County sheriff by then-Gov. Jeb Bush, following the removal of Bill Clement.
Cameron became chief deputy when Davenport was elected a year later.
Since then, he believes the agency has made positive strides throughout the community.
Colleagues echoed his sentiment.
"It's been the best six years of my law enforcement career," said Maj. Dan Libby.
Following his badge-pinning, Cameron had every employee in the crowd reaffirm their oath of office.
He spoke briefly about the looming financial challenges, and the importance of making sound decisions.
"Do the right thing for the right reasons, and you'll never stumble," Cameron said.
By JASON WITZ
I gotta tell you I've got mixed feelings about this article too. I almost despise Bill Cameron. Yet, I realize that we have to work with this man for the next four years. If we want to change our 9-1-1 center and make improvements, we're going to have to go through this guy.
Of course, that'll be difficult considering in his campaign he averred "our 9-1-1 center has no issues" and "we have excellent dispatchers". So how do you work with a man that only looks at the forest and not at the trees?
As you know I've already blogged about several of the issues our 9-1-1 center has. I won't go into them again here. Why continue rehashing them?
But, then I think "Peggy, you have to rehash them and continue to rehash them". Why? Because if we don't speak out about them, I'm afraid they'll continue to be swept under the rug. Why? Suppose in regards to Nathan's lawsuit against the CCSO, they decide to settle? One of the things the CCSO will most likely require is for us "to never talk about this story again" "no books" "no interviews" nothing, nada.
Also, I feel the need to expose Bill Cameron for the politician he is. So, that in the next election (four years from now) people will know what kind of person he really is. This past election he was protected by his buddy John Davenport and other high up Republicans. Also, he was protected by the newspapers IMO. Mark and I went to the Charlotte Sun weeks before the election and spelled out why we believed there was a cover-up. We spelled out many of the problems but they were never published. Most of the people who voted had no idea the Bill Cameron was Chief of Communications that night. Meaning, he was in charge! And he was responsible. He was the one directly responsible for not notifying the North Port Police Department about Ms Kowalski's call. He's the one that made all the important decisions that night. He was also at the time the Public Information Officer. What does that mean? That means he was responsible for what information was given out to the press and to our family. He was the one responsible for manipulating the facts.
He also lied about our family on the campaign trail. He insinuated to the newspapers that the Goffs and Lees don't get along. He insinuated that Rick Goff doesn't approve or appreciate our efforts in trying to correct the problems in the 9-1-1 center. I had a reporter ask me directly "Mrs. Lee, how well do you get along with the Goffs?" I was like "what?" the reporter replied "It's been implied by Bill Cameron that your families don't get along and never have". WHAT! Then Cameron is quoted in the newspaper saying "Rick was in my office the other day and he said he doesn't like his daughter's name being used in politics and that he's fine with the investigation and if Rick's fine with the investigation and has no questions, that's good enough for me!" Or something to that effect. If you need a direct quote, I'll get it for you. What a lie! An ALL OUT LIE! Rick obviously supports our efforts. He spoke in Tallahassee and on national television averring how "his department" screwed up. He has been at every Denise Amber Lee Foundation fundraiser.Our families (the Lees and the Goffs) have bonded in a very special way. Rick has been like a father to Nate. We've joined together in doing all we can to help Nathan with the babies.
We don't talk to Rick about the CCSO simply because we don't want to cause him any more anxiety or pain then he already has. If he had any problem with our crusade to expose Davenport and Cameron for who they are I'm sure he'd tell us.
How to work with a man like Bill Cameron? I don't know.
I guess I'm sounding pretty darn angry. Well, I am. The man makes me want to puke every time I think of him. Why? Because he's a liar and a manipulator of the facts. He put politics and getting elected before the community. I don't care how much community service and good works you do. A liar is a liar. And he lied to get elected.
I've always been a registered Republican. I've always had faith in my party. But after this debacle, I no longer have faith in the Republican Party in Florida. They protected their own and closed ranks. I even heard that Worch endorsed Cameron and meets with him for lunch.
And Governor Charlie Crist has distanced himself as far a way from this story as he possibly could. He won't even look at it.
Now that all that anger is out let me explain why I think there was a cover-up or at least an attempt at cover-up. Again. (Sorry to those who have read this before. The reason I'm doing this is not because I'm obsessed. It's more because I figure the more I put it out there on the internet, the more it'll be seen and these people need to be exposed for what they did.)
Top ten reasons there was a cover-up:
1 They didn't notify the North Port Police Department immediately after the phone call. Why not?
2 They never followed up with Jane Kowalski on her phone call. Why not?
3 They had Capt Donna Roguska lead the Internal Affairs investigation. She was Director of Communications that night and in charge.
4 They didn't interview Bill Cameron the Chief of Communications. Why not?
5 They refused to answer any questions after the Internal Affairs Investigation Report came out. Why not?
6 Their treatment of Ms Kowalski in blaming her for giving them "erroneous" information about the color of the car and the age of the victim.
7 They laid blame on Nextel being the problem and went to great lengths about discontinuing the use of Nextel when the only person who had a Nextel phone in the 9-1-1 center that night was Laurie Piatt, the supervisor patching radios. At least according to those who were interviewed. Who knows what Roguska and Cameron were using. They conveniently weren't interviewed.
8 The list of questions that went unasked in the investigation. For example "who was the 'he' in authority that Millie Stepp was asking direction from while on the phone with Ms Kowalski?" and "who was hollering at Millie when she was on the phone with Ms Kowalski?" These were clearly people in authority. Those people were never interviewed and it was never asked who they are. Also "why didn't Millie (the call taker) confirm with the dispatchers that they received her information and that it was sent out?" And "why weren't the 3 BOLOs sent across on the Teletype from North Port responded to?" And "why were the CCSO deputies in the field not looking for a green Camaro until after 6:45PM when the CCSO first received information over the Teletype about a green Camaro as early as 4:59PM?" And "during the shift change what information did the on duty supervisor give to the on-coming supervisor?" And "why wasn't the on coming squad of call takers and dispatchers made aware of the green Camaro and the 3 BOLOs?" The pass on log which they all initialed when they came in at 6:45PM doesn't mention anything about the green Camaro or the white pudgy guy. Why not? "Why were the CCSO deputies in the field so frustrated about not having any leads when there were clearly leads coming over the Teletype?" How could the supervisor, Laurie Piatt get away with a response of "I didn't know what was going on, I was patching radios, I mean, I knew Millie had a call but I really didn't know anything about it". She was the supervisor for goodness sakes. Where's the follow up of "why not? And why didn't you make it your business to find out why one of your call takers was standing up screaming across the room and find out why people were hollering at her?" I could go on but I'll stop for a while. Most likely I'll blog about it in a few days. If I do I'll warn you ahead of time that it's a rant on cover-up.
9 They won't open themselves up to an external investigation which you'd think they would. I mean, if there are no issues as they say and their dispatchers are excellent, you'd think an external investigation would exonerate them.
10 Biggest reason! the North Port Police Department had to "request" information on Ms Kowalski's call on Saturday, the same day we found Denise's body. 3 days. When the CCSO clearly knew according to their own I/A report the call referred to Denise as early as Thursday evening. Why? Why did the NPPD have to "request" information. Ms Kowalski was the last person to see Denise alive. She was a critical witness and we would NEVER have known about her or her call if she hadn't persistantly called the NPPD. The CCSO's treatment of her is an indictment itself.
God bless you, Jane. If you ever read this, please, know you are a true hero in my eyes and I'm so sorry if you've suffered in anyway for doing the right thing.
So, how do we move forward and work with this guy to clean up the mess? I can't trust a word he says because he's actually lied about my family during probably the worst times of our lives. His treatment of Nathan...... It's appalling and sickening.
IMO, Cameron's more of a politician than a sheriff. And it was obvious in 2008 that he puts politics before public safety.