Glenn Hand, who in February resigned under pressure from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, is one of four county law officers who have seen their names added this year to a list that brands those on it as people who cannot be trusted.

 

With the four 2018 additions, the county’s Brady/Giglio Report now holds 37 names, among them notables such as Charlie Morris, a sheriff imprisoned for stealing from taxpayers, and Joseph Floyd, a major convicted of operating a criminal enterprise from inside the Crestview Police Department.

Hand’s name was added to the list in March, an occurrence that has proven problematic to the Florida Highway Patrol, which had hired him in February after he left the Sheriff’s Office.

Hand has been on administrative leave since the Northwest Florida Daily News published a story about his status in early July. FHP Capt. Thomas Pikul confirmed Wednesday an investigation into Hand’s status is being conducted by the Inspector General’s Office for the Division of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Finding one’s name on a Brady/Giglio list is a big deal. A handful of those listed, like Morris and Floyd, have proven dishonest and untrustworthy by committing high-profile crimes for which they were prosecuted, but most in Okaloosa County were disciplined by their departments and placed on the list for simple “untruthfulness.”

Useless in court

For several reasons, law enforcement agencies can’t afford to tolerate an employee willing to lie to superiors or fabricate reports, most importantly because that employee is rendered nearly useless when called into court to testify.

Former Fort Walton Beach Sgt. Michael Hogan made the Okaloosa Giglio list in 2016 when then-Police Chief Ed Ryan discovered Hogan had made false statements during an internal investigation in 2006.

A discussion with Okaloosa Chief Assistant State Attorney Bill Bishop led to the determination that the State Attorney’s Office “would no longer prosecute any cases which Sgt. Hogan brought before the court,” Ryan wrote in a report filed in Hogan’s case.

“In my experience this makes Sgt. Hogan unable to be a law enforcement officer and carry out his required duties to adjudicate cases in court,” Ryan said in the report.

A Brady/Giglio Report is compiled by the State Attorney’s Office in each county in Florida, according to John Molchan, who, like Bishop, is a senior assistant state attorney in Florida’s First Judicial Circuit.

“We have an absolute obligation to maintain that list,” Molchan said.

Prosecutors are required to share with defense attorneys the names of law officers who have been placed on the Giglio list.

“It’s a very broad requirement and part of the State Attorney’s Office discovery responsibility,” Molchan said. “Under the rules of evidence, discovery (pre-trial sharing of evidence between the prosecution and defense) has to be done in a light most favorable to the accused. The information may not even be admissible, but we have to share the list.”

The Hand case

Hand, whose wife Brandi Hand holds an administrative position with the Okaloosa County School District, was investigated in September 2017 for two possible criminal acts.

On Sept. 13, 2017, the same day the Sheriff’s Office arrested School District officials Marlynn Stillions, Arden Farley and Angelyn Vaughan on charges related to child abuse, a call was made to a restaurant owned by Eddie Perillo, whose son Noah was the alleged victim.

The caller, identifying himself as James Taylor, left a threatening message at the business. Perillo, himself a former sheriff's deputy, called authorities.

Hand also was questioned about Facebook threats made the day of the arrests to Sheriff’s Office Maj. Arnold Brown and Capt. Mark Raiche, two high-ranking Sheriff’s Office officials who were participating in the child abuse inquiry. The threats in question were posted by someone identifying themselves as James Taylor.

Although he denied making either threat when questioned by criminal investigators, Hand admitted to doing so when an internal investigation was launched early this year. A request by Investigator Michael Evans for a warrant to arrest Hand was denied in March by the State Attorney’s Office, which cited insufficient evidence to uphold second-degree felony charges of intimidating a witness and communicating a threat to law enforcement officers.

Hand resigned Jan. 29 as the internal investigation was ongoing and before admitting to making the threats to Perillo and his superior officers. Investigators reported he cited “hostility by my direct command,” as his reason for leaving the Sheriff’s Office, although agency spokeswoman Michele Nicholson said he left the agency “to go with FHP.”

FHP was notified

The FHP hired Hand on Feb. 26. The report filed by the Sheriff’s Office, detailing findings that Hand had twice committed actions unbecoming an officer and had also lied under oath to investigators, was not finalized until mid-March.

The cover sheet of the report bears a note signed by Undersheriff Steve Harker. It requests that the Florida Highway Patrol and State Attorney’s Office be notified of the findings “for potential Brady/Giglio issues revealed as a result of the investigation.”

The Sheriff’s Office reported March 14 that “one count of untruthfulness” had been sustained against Hand following an administrative investigation. The document was turned over to Bishop at the State Attorney’s Office, and Hand’s name appeared shortly thereafter on the county’s Giglio list.

A memorandum on Sheriff’s Office letterhead, dated March 19, was sent to Capt. Ryan Martinez of the FHP.

“It’s my understanding the Florida Highway Patrol hired one of our former deputies, Glenn Hand, who is now in training at your academy. When your background investigator visited our agency, he was notified we had an open administrative investigation,” the memo compiled by Capt. Robert Norris states. “The investigation is now completed and I believe the conclusion and findings are significant enough to pass on to your agency.

“We substantiated two counts of unbecoming conduct and one count of untruthfulness. The untruthfulness resulted from Glenn Hand lying to our investigator conducting (a) criminal investigation,” Norris, with the Sheriff’s Office’s Office of Professional Standards, reported to Martinez.

When contacted by the Daily News in July, Pikul said the FHP had only recently learned Hand’s name had been added to the Giglio list “by another agency.”

The list

Of the 37 names appearing on Okaloosa County’s Brady/Giglio list, 17 are former sheriff’s deputies. Hand and deputy Kenneth Taylor were added this year. Like Hand, Taylor, who was dismissed in May, was found to have committed a single act of untruthfulness.

Morris, who was arrested by the FBI in 2009 and his chief deputy, Michael Coup, both appear on Okaloosa County’s Giglio list. Both were charged in connection to a kickback scheme concocted by Morris.

Of the 17 past deputies on the list, 13 are included solely because they proved dishonest.

“DFC Cantwell’s actions of not telling the truth in a court deposition are unfortunately fatal to a career. ... His credibility is compromised,” the Feb. 8, 201,3 report of Deputy Jeffery Cantwell said.

Twelve names on Okaloosa’s list are Crestview police officers. Justin Reed made the list in February of this year. Then-Police Chief Tony Taylor reported an investigation “sustained findings Reed was untruthful in departmental matters.”

Most of the Crestview officers were removed from the Police Department following the racketeering trial of Joseph Floyd. Several of the officers let go by Taylor in the aftermath of the trial had testified under oath to falsifying reports at the direction of Floyd, Bishop said.

Four names appearing on Okaloosa’s Giglio list are former Fort Walton Beach police officers. Two, including Hogan, were released by Ryan and reported to the State Attorney’s Office after it was learned they had been disciplined by past city police administrators for untruthfulness.

A report documenting the dismissal and placement of Officer Trebor Wright on the Brady/Giglio Report states that, during an interview in 2016 with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, Wright told his would-be employers he had “documented on incident reports that he field tested cannabis even though he did not.” Wright estimated he had lied about conducting field tests 15 times, the report said.

The Niceville Police Department has added two officers names to the Okaloosa Brady/Giglio Report, including one this year. In January an officer was placed on the list after suffering “a mental health issue which was causing him to be delusional.

“He believed he was on an operation and was working a very serious case and he contacted OCSO, FDLE and USAF OSI,” the report said.

The officer, who was ultimately placed into custody under the Baker Act, was relieved of police duties.

Background checks

Although the county branches of the State Attorney’s Offices hold and maintain their own Brady/Giglio Reports, there is no state database charting those who appear on the lists, Molchan said, and the names aren’t routinely shared with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Attorney General’s Office or any other agency.

News stories have documented numerous incidents across Florida through the years of police officers with unsavory backgrounds continuing to work as law enforcement officers. Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson said that problem is particularly prevalent in more populous areas where unions are stronger and it is harder to make disciplinary action stick.

Molchan said background checks remain the best way law enforcement agencies have to ensure they find officers who don’t appear on someone’s Brady/Giglio Report.

“I think the most effective thing is the background check,” he said. “We rarely get contacted on a background check.”