Longboat officer who shared gruesome pics resigns

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Longboat Key Police Officer Jeffrey L. Houchins resigned last Thursday in the face of imminent termination according to Longboat Key Police Chief Pete Cumming.

The resignation followed an internal investigation by the Longboat Key Police Department in which Cumming concluded numerous policy violations were made by Houchins.

“It was not necessarily any single incident but a pattern of behavior and incidences that would have led to his termination,” said Cumming.

Houchins first came on the disciplinary radar on Longboat Key after he texted a photo of a brutal pedestrian fatality in which the pedestrian was deeply wounded by the impact of an automobile on Gulf of Mexico Drive. But that incident was just the beginning.

Last month, the Sarasota Herald Tribune published stories that said Houchins while applying for a job with the Lakeland Police Department offered up pictures of dead people to others in the waiting room at the station lobby.  Lakeland Police did not hire Houchins after he showed crime scene victim photos to a plain-clothed Lakeland Police Officer.

Houchins also applied at Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, as well as in Hollywood, Florida. He was not hired by either agency.

Cumming told Longboat Key News that he and his staff were unaware of these incidents when Houchins was hired in 2015. Longboat Key’s application to work in the Police Department at that time did not require the disclosure of other agencies the applicant attempted to gain employment from over the past three years.

Following the issues associated with Houchins, the town has since amended its hiring practices to require such disclosure.

All of the paperwork necessary to terminate Houchins was completed by Chief Cumming, but Houchins was allowed the opportunity to resign.

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Longboat Key News

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