PCB Police Under Heat

By: Mr. Adam Kramer
By: Mr. Adam Kramer

When Jimmy Warr joined the Beach Police Department over five years ago, he quickly climbed the ranks to sergeant, but Warr didn't like some of the things he saw in the department, so he launched his own internal investigations against fellow officers, investigations that were against department policy.

After Warr was eventually demoted to corporal, he claimed it was retaliation for blowing the whistle, so now he’s planning to file a lawsuit.

The official reason Panama City Beach Police say they demoted Sgt. Jimmy Warr was for failing to report information to the proper superiors, but Warr believes he was punished for reporting wrongdoing by his fellow officers.

He uncovered the wrongdoing by performing an unauthorized internal investigation. Beach Police Chief Robert Harding stands by his actions.

"If you do things fair, then you don't have to question whether you've done the right thing, and in this case, in my opinion, things were done fair," said Chief Robert Harding.

Despite the fact Warr conducted an improper investigation, the department still followed up on it because of the serious allegations made by Warr.

Warr claimed his superior officer, Sgt. Rich McClanahan, spent hours on end, while on duty, hanging out at the positive touch on Panama City Beach, unavailable to other officers.

One of the people McLanhanan was associating is the subject of a federal investigation. Once Warr brought the information to his superiors, they launched their own investigation and found some of the claims to be true.

They suspended McLanhanan but also warned Warr about launching his own investigation. After a second investigation of McLanhanan earlier this year, Warr was demoted.

But this isn't the only problem plaguing the department. In a separate incident, an anonymous letter was but in the box of every city council member accusing members of the police force with a variety of activities.

Illegal searches and arrests, sexual harassment, conducting personal business on department time, drinking on the job, preferential treatment of some employees over others are just some of the accusations, but the writer does not provide any proof.

City council members are split on how to deal with the accusations.

Ken Nelson says he wants an outside investigation.
"I believe FDLE is the only one that is going to be unbiased. I don't believe anyone in the county could really say they're unbiased and do an investigation," said Panama City Beach Councilman Ken Nelson

But Mayor Sullivan and vice-mayor Oberst say they don't give any weight to anonymous accusations.

"If you sign your name and you file a complaint, then I think that the kind of thing we should take very seriously," said Panama City Beach vice-mayor Gayle Oberst.

"Are we getting to something that whether it's true or untrue dream it up write down, put in someone's box and we're off," said Panama City Beach Mayor Lee Sullivan.


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