Sneads Police Chief Suspended

By: Bergen Baucom Email
By: Bergen Baucom Email

The Florida Criminal Standards and Training Commission suspended Sneads police chief, Burt McAlpin's certification yesterday for mishandling of a child molestation investigation back in 2007.

Five years ago a Sneads city worker and friend of McAlpin's was accused of molesting a 14 year old girl. The man was later found not guilty. But, the girl's grandfather filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement against McAlpin and it was that complaint that resulted in his suspension and probation.

"He still maintains his innocence and we're going to back him. The town is behind him" said Sneads City Manager, Connie Butts.
She also said the idea of losing McAlpin, even temporarily, did not sit well with the community.

"Quite frankly it will tear my town apart because the people support him. And there will be an appeal because I have had townspeople
calling me and telling me I'll pay for it if the town can't" Butts told us.

But the girl's family obviously see's the issue very differently. "Burt, I wish you had done your job like you should have. If you had of, a pervert would be in jail, and we wouldn't have all gone through this for all these years" said the girls grandfather, Bob Griffin.

Griffin attended Thursday's hearing and said the whole process has devastated his family. "Well it's been hard enough on us but it's been harder on my granddaughter. It's kind of left me very cynical of who I trust period" Griffin said.

And though McAlpin is facing repercussions, Griffin said nothing can change or take back what happened to his granddaughter. "Some justice has been served. But I'm not sure if all of the justice in this case will ever be served" he said.

McAlpin will remain the police chief until the official order is handed down from the FDLE. Then, he will have 30 days to assess the case with his lawyers to determine if he can appeal it.

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  • by Anonymous Location: Jackson County on May 14, 2012 at 10:41 PM
    Did the City Council vote to pay for the appeal? If not, then who gave the city lawyers the "OK" to start the appeal process?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 15, 2012 at 09:00 AM in reply to Anonymous
      Anonymous, I was told some time back by the ex-city manager that he had strongly recommended to the council that they NOT pay Chief McAlpin's legal fees in this case, but they decided otherwise. As far as any kind of lawsuit, while I would not totally rule that out our objective has always been justice. Thank you, Bob
      • reply
        by Bob on May 16, 2012 at 02:53 PM in reply to
        To Anonymous from Bob, Oops, don't know why my last reply came in as "anonymous to anonymous". Started out just trying to "post" my comments but nothing would go through that way. Only way I could get them on here was to "reply". Could be that I'm just not too computer literate. To you, Sarah, T, and a few more, thanks for considering the possibility that my family and I just might be right in this. Bob
    • reply
      by Bob on May 15, 2012 at 01:27 PM in reply to Anonymous
      Anonymous I do know that, as I said, some time back the council agreed to pay his legal fees on this matter. As to the matter of this appeal I don't know. The city manager recently said that there would be an appeal, and that some people had called in and said that they would pay for it personally. Who these people are I don't have any idea. She didn't say who, just "some people". Thanks for your interest in this. Bob
  • by Sarah Location: Jackson County on May 14, 2012 at 10:25 PM
    Mr Griffin, not all of the Sneads residents stand behind McAlpin, but If the town council and City Manager is standing behind him and want to keep McAlpin as Chief then by all means make them pay and pay dearly.
  • by T on May 14, 2012 at 05:24 PM
    Bob, Great Job!! Dont stop now. If the town has the money to continue paying for his lawyers, They should pay your family as well (Civil Suit) I belive in the end your familys pay will be alot higher than his lawyers bill.
  • by Anonymous Location: Jackson County on May 14, 2012 at 04:32 PM
    You are correct Mr. Griffin, McAlpin isn't paying for it. The town is paying and only because McAlpin's father is on the council. I feel that is why the town manager is saying she is behind him as well. When will the lawsuit be filed Mr. Griffin?
  • by Fred Location: Jackson County on May 13, 2012 at 10:26 AM
    I thought the city charter states the Chief of Police has to be a Florida certified Law Enforcement Officer. The town council has stated in the past that the chief would be out working not an administrator.
    • reply
      by James on May 17, 2012 at 04:03 PM in reply to Fred
      You're correct about what the city charter says, but who knows what the town council does. They have special meetings and post the annoucement about the meetings in places where the general public will not know about them.
  • by Anonymous on May 12, 2012 at 06:31 PM
    James I agree with you. After he retired they went through several people and 1 of them twice. It seems other than Comerford there was a older guy that was at there trying to keep the police department together but he left and went somewhere. It seems to me that the good ones leave after they get fed up with the town council. What do you think.
  • by ez on May 12, 2012 at 04:50 AM
    does Sneads even need a government?
    • reply
      by Bob Griffin on May 12, 2012 at 02:04 PM in reply to ez
      I'm Bob Griffin, the grandfather who filed charges against Chief McAlpin a few weeks after my grandaughter reported the crime. After it had become apparent that Chief McAlpin wasn't going to pursue the matter. Not, as the J.C. Floridan reported, AFTER the accused was tried and found not guilty. As a side note that was a bad joke of a prosecution, with even the defense lawyer sarcastically commenting about several witnesses for the prosecution who should have testified but were not called by the prosecution. Everyone has the right to have an opinion, but it's best to have an informed opinion. To everyone whose opinion is based on gossip, hearsay, blind loyalty, and what they've heard from the "good old boy network" I can only say one thing. A wise man once said that to argue with idiots is a waste of time. Well, I'm 64 years old and don't have the time to waste. To anyone wanting to know the actual FACTS in this case you can go to and in the searchbar type in 11-2456, which is the case number. To anyone with an existing facebook account who might want to forward this to the J.C. Floridan comments page, please feel free to do so. I'm not joining facebook just to post there. Thank you.
      • reply
        by Love on May 14, 2012 at 08:57 AM in reply to Bob Griffin
        Bob, you didn't file any "charges" - you filed a complaint. And I do believe that the complaint was filed after a much longer period than a "few weeks."
        • reply
          by Bob on May 14, 2012 at 11:19 AM in reply to Love
          Love, You're right, I stand corrected. It was a complaint, not charges. Although we've documented things from very early on in this case, I don't have it all documented in my head. Although I can't recall offhand all the dates and time frames on this I DO KNOW that it was just a few weeks after the initial claim by my grandaughter that we got the Jackson Co, Sheriff's Dept. involved. Then later the complaint against Chief McAlpin was filed, long before the accused's farce of a trial took place. One important thing to remember might be that these complaints have survived three hearings, the first for probable cause, the second before an administrative law judge and the third before the commission. I'm reasonably sure that there will be an appeal. After all, he's not spending his money for the lawyer.
  • by Sebastian Location: Jackson on May 12, 2012 at 02:55 AM
    Smith: The facts are straight...a violation of the law is plain to see and a blind side has been taken in this matter as well as before in what you mentioned...good old boys attitude. Now...let us see if Tallahassee will up hold the law......oh, and thanks for bringing us up to date about past are a good citizen
  • by Smith Location: Sneads on May 11, 2012 at 06:50 PM
    Get your facts straight... funny for years it was not a problem that Mike Weeks was a city councilman and his father and family had the trash contract with Sneads for years... How was that not a conflict...and to top that Mike Weeks son worked for the city....Note : Sammy McAlpin ran for office and was elected years after son was Chief of Sneads Police Department...Oh yea don't forget Mike's brother in law was William Nelson whom was Chief of Sneads Police on (2) different occasion ...Hey Sebastion get the FACTS straight...It's not nice to throw stones.
    • reply
      by Fred on May 13, 2012 at 10:18 AM in reply to Smith
      They had a guy that was from Calhoun County twice, he worked for Buddy smith until he was beat by Tatum. Annonymous, I think the older guy was retired military. But you are correct Steve Comerford was probably the best one. I wonder how much the town's insurance will be paying the family of the mr. Griffin's granddaughter?
  • by James Location: Gadsden County on May 11, 2012 at 06:37 PM
    During the years I have lived, worked in Jackson County and done business in Sneads, I think the best police chief they had was Steve Comerford. He knew how to be an administrator and law enforcement officer
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