Collier deputy transferred after disparaging comments on Web site
By RYAN MILLS (Contact)
Originally published 4:44 p.m., Thursday, June 25, 2009
Updated 4:54 p.m., Thursday, June 25, 2009
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A 20-year member of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office was transferred out of the agency’s traffic unit recently, after it came to light that he had posted "malicious" comments about a fellow deputy on an online message board.
Cpl. Paul Boliek, 41, was verbally cautioned about the online postings and transferred to patrol in Golden Gate Estates, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Karie Partington said. The transfer, which occurred on June 17, was not a demotion.
"No, its lateral, and its not a disciplinary thing," Partington said. "To stay where he was had the potential to be disruptive in the short term."
On May 29, Boliek posted a comment on the online law enforcement message board LEOAffairs.com regarding the Sheriff’s Office’s investigation into a deadly crash involving the son of Dr. Ricardo Rivas, a local psychologist who has worked as a contract vendor with the agency for about 15 years. The headline on the entire thread of posts was "Conflict of Interest?"
Boliek identified himself by his agency identifier, t311, according to a memo from Lt. Harold Minch who oversees the traffic unit.
"I do think that we should not be primary on the Rivas crash," Boliek wrote. "Too many Deputies have been to him either during their hiring process or later when they have problems at home and can’t figure things out on their own, that alone should preclude the agency from being number one."
Boliek also made comments about the lead traffic homicide investigator on the case, Cpl. Karen Hebebrand, identifying her as KH.
"KH has some issues that she needs to work out," Boliek wrote. "Maybe that’s why she is doing the Rivas crash, she might have a debt to pay. ... My crash knowledge is weak at best but shortly after I went to my one and only crash class I saw KH work a crash. That’s (sic) put it this way. One of my instructors spit coffee on me when I told him she was one of our thi’s."
According to his memo, Minch learned about the comments when someone copied them and left them in his office.
Minch called the Boliek’s comments "insulting, defaming, and ... malicious." When Minch confronted him about the comments, Boliek admitted to writing them.
Minch requested that Boliek be transferred out of the unit, calling the comments "a public embarrassment for the entire agency."
In a separate memo, Commander Bob Lewis recommended that Boliek be transferred to corrections, but also questioned whether termination was appropriate.
"To terminate his employment may seem retaliatory and corrective measures are not retaliatory, although termination is certainly within the realm of possibility based on the infractions listed," Lewis wrote.
Boliek earns $76,985.74 a year, the Sheriff’s Office reported.
"They just reviewed all the circumstances and the (discipline and) appeals committee felt this was the appropriate action to take," Partington said.
In his memo, Minch also called out another poster on the thread, identified only as "guestus," who said he or she is in the traffic unit, made disparaging comments about Hebebrand and said the Rivas investigation is "a monster and our unit can not weather this approaching storm."
"I have not identified the other individual involved," Minch wrote, "and will not be conducting any type of Witch Hunt to find them."
On June 5, the Sheriff’s Office released a new non-agency Web site policy that prohibits agency employees from posting "references to or about" the Sheriff’s Office, agency staff or agency information obtained in a member’s official capacity. Chief Greg Smith said at the time that the new policy was in the works at least three months before Boliek’s posts.
suggest you see this posting at hcso
if you can't be 100% truthful/honest, you are in the wrong profession
Who is Minch to say someone violated policy by making disperaging comments. Thats calling the kettle black!
He did exactly the same thing a few years ago when he thought he was going out west to be a cop. He bad mouthed this agency and all of the command staff for months on end. We all had to hear him go on and on about how bad the agency was but I guess somehow he found Christ and became a born-again deputy. Well too bad someone didn't jam paper on him. Now he wants to jam up a veteran deputy for stating what he believed to be the truth?
If I were PB supervisor I would have handled this in my own unit. There is no need to run to the chief over something like this in my opinion.
The ony one who looks foolish in this article is Minch himself in my opinion.
Good luck PB, it does not matter where they put you, you will shine because you have work ethics and integrity. And if they did not tell you I will, thanks for telling the truth. At some point the command staff will be forced to deal with the issues in STEB.
Now now, don't upset HM or he'll have his mom get involved!
Do you honestly think that you can say those types of things about a fellow co-worker and your supervisors and still be allowed to work along side of them? How well would you work with someone on a daily basis if they had just talked smack about you publicly. If you want to be able to talk freely about your boss is an idiot without repercussions, go work for yourself.
Ladies and Gentlemen-
YOU WILL RESPECT MY AUTHORITY!
In law enforcement you are talked about everyday by all of your co-workers, that is just the nature of the job. At least on LeoAffairs you actually know what they are saying. Who says it really does not matter...
Teach a MAN to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.
Teach a COP to fish and he will sit on a boat and drink beer all day...
I agree that we should not be posting negative things on a public site. But I am also tried of the double standards. Do your job the best you can, don't post or talk negative about the agency outside. And when you hear your COC talking negative or criticizing, as they often do, document time, place, who was present and what was said. If they play favorites with the rules, document that too. Start now. Even if you don't feel you need it. You never know when you will be the targeted one.
Last edited by jackiechiles on 09/18/09 07:59:52, edited 1 time in total.
Ok. Here is my 2 cents.
I honestly believe that Sheriff Rambosk is trying to make things better. I do not think he knows or would approve of the way some of the supervisors do things or treat people. They create a very negative work environment.
If you report the problems the way you are suppose to, it just makes things worse. First, you are told there is nothing the next in line can do about the problem and then they tell your supervisor you complained and it makes things worse.
I too agree that this is not the place to air these problems but there is no other way to do it. Let me repeat, the proper channels don't always work.
We all know that the Admin people read this site. Please give us a way to report and deal with these problems. Lets handle our problems in private.
We are initiating a lot of programs for the public to communicate their problems and concerns. Give the agency members the same opportunity. Lets bridge our gap and get back to providing the best service we can for our community.
I agree Jackie and could not have said it better myself. Although this all started with a negative about the problems within our THI unit, it has allowed for an opportunity to prove that this administration is not like the last. Anyone who has something negative to say about the sheriff or his chiefs has not had any personal dealings with them.
I am the first to say when something is wrong but by the same token I will also speak up when I see something right.
With that said I believe the sheriff handled the situation right. Minch over-reacted and the sheriff did not play into his knee-jerk reaction game.
Bravo sheriff for having the guts to look at all of the facts before making a decision.
Bravo Paul for being an honest cop and admitting to the truth when asked.
The only person left is Minch and with the new administration in place I only hope for his sake that he was right in protecting KH all of these years. If not, I think the sheriff will do the right thing again and do what will need to be done...
Regarding 2cents, I agree! There is no trust that if you must go higher to make a compalint about your supervisor that there will not be hell to pay. But to avoid having to go higher how about your supervisor put their ego aside for a momemnt and actually listen if one of your deputies brings something to your attention. It takes courage for a subordinate to even make such a move so show a little respect and appreciation that a member of your unit cares enough to make things better.
100% agree with the above posts. This problem continues because Lt's, Commanders, Captains and Chiefs know there are problems and don't take the steps to correct them. They need to be held accountable for allowing the problems to continue.
The Sheriff is doing the best he can. It's hard for him to get ahead because he is always having to deal with major problems that should have been handled at a lower level BEFORE it became a headline. Sgts and Lts, start being accountable. I am not referring to road Sgts or district Lts. The problems seem to be in the specialized units. Some of them choose what they do and when they do it. Must be nice.
I also agree that we need a way to address the problems when sadly, trust is an issue. Some people are just waaaay to comfortable in their positions.
I think PB is just the beginning of people standing up for what they believe. But it will be people that are loyal to the Sheriff and the agency and proud of their jobs. Not meant to hurt or embarrass the agency. So yes, an internal process is needed.
for what it's worth, dang it, forgot to log in again. Yes guys, it's angelangel.
for what it's worth, I personally have gone to the Human Relations Commission and been designated a whistle blower. I won the case against a government agency. From what I've read, PB may have a case and I would encourage him to go forward if the facts as presented are true. Also as for Rambosk, if you look, many of the PRB cases he inherited, some from as far ago as 2007. Last time I check, the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights specifically states after 180 days of inactivity on an internal affairs investigation, it is classified as moot. Therefore, anyone who's PRB hasn't been touched in more than 180 days cannot in trouble or be disciplined UNLESS there was a CRIMINAL investigation ongoing. What was JW doing while in charge of PRB? What about the former sheriff? Why can't the current sheriff move forward with those PRBs that have expired? Why can't he make decisions on his own without JB or JW right there? He's supposed to be the leader and he's not acting like one right now in my opinion.
As for the new don't post order, I believe this is a violation of your First Amendment Rights. How can any law enforcement officer who is seeking work elsewhere, say they are close to retiring, and want to post their resume on a site going to be able to?
I think there are many holes in the new policy from what I've read and I would encourage the good CCSO deputies and the ones who are truthful to seek out an attorney and move forward. That's the only way the place will get cleaned up for the benefit of all the good deputies out there -- and for the community. I've seen it done before where the good cops banded together and got rid of the bad cops and the chief (he wasn't a sheriff). You may contact me if you wish at firstname.lastname@example.org
Good luck. I know I'll get bashed for this, but I truly believe there are many many good deputies at CCSO. I hope you find an attorney willing to take the cases you have against the administration and not someone local.
Last edited by mod 167 on 06/26/09 10:33:37, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Improper Screen Name Removed
Angelangel, I have no way of knowing if you posted this or someone was using your screen name so to err on the side of caution and to protect your registered screen name I edited the user to Guest. If you forget to log in please do not use Angelangel.
There is an old saying that" THE TRUTH IS BETTER THEN FICTION" Could it be that the CCSO's upper echelon and the LT from Traffic Unit are trying to do damage control because Deputy Boliek was stating the"TRUTH"
I am unclear why he would have to be moved to GG because he posted a comment on a PUBLIC web site that is specifically there for LEO's to discuss , air or debate there feelings. Whatever happened to someone's 1st Amendment rights ? ... Could it be that the LT was about to be caught in a less then favorable light and must push the blame onto someone else since it is obvious that NO one thinks that KH is able or competent enough to work a traffic fatality?
How sad for the young girls family that CCSO needs to save face instead of assigning this case to someone who would work it as it should be with dignity , respect and with swift justice for the guilty.
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