Mount Dora discusses police department issues

City manager addresses current standing of agency

MOUNT DORA, Fla. - A week after the Mount Dora chief of police was relieved of his duties, City Manager Robin Hayes held a news conference to discuss the standing of the agency.

Mount Dora Police Chief John O'Grady was let go last week after an investigation stemming from an inappropriate remark he made led to the uncovering of potential ethics violations and other complaints.

Mount Dora police Chief John O'Grady was supposed to present an award to the couple who owns Las Palmas restaurant in April. Since a medical emergency kept the couple from attending, the chief allowed a Hispanic officer to accept the award on their behalf.

He reportedly said the officer should accept the award by saying, "Here, come take this, these are your people."

The officer replied by saying she's Puerto Rican and O'Grady said, "same thing," according to the report. The officer described the situation in a hostile work complaint as offensive and humiliating.

City attorney Sherry Sutphen said that effective immediately, O'Grady will no longer serve as police chief or director of public safety.

“The investigation concluded that there was overwhelming evidence of a department fraught with distrust and a lack of respect for O’Grady’s leadership. It also concluded that O’Grady engaged in behavior unbecoming of a city of Mount Dora employee," she said.

During the investigation, several other allegations into O'Grady's behavior surfaced. Employees said the chief regularly made comments that were meant to get under their skin, although those remarks did not rise to the level of harassment or discrimination.

In one instance, a young female employee said O'Grady called her to his office and had her open a package for him, saying, "Whose life is more important?"

Employees also reported apparent favoritism and other ethical concerns, according to the report.

Hayes said officers will spend the next 30 to 90 days focused on healing from what has transpired. 

 

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