Driving school

Flagler’s sheriff’s corporal. Rob Myers, who had been drinking and driving, demoted after heated stop

Flagler County Sheriff’s Corporal. Rob Myers, a nine-year veteran of the agency, was demoted to deputy and placed on 18-month internal probation following an internal investigation that revealed he had consumed alcohol and drove alarmingly close to a deputy who was performing an unrelated traffic stop. .

The road deputy had to get out of the way and then followed Myers to stop him. Myers, who was confrontational during the stoppage, was impaired, according to the deputy, but was not cited for it or given on-court sobriety drills.

Myers was off duty, as was his passenger, Deputy Nancy Malheiros, the night of the incident, St. Patrick’s Day. They had been to the European Village. Deputy Seth Green, who had previously worked under Myers – but was unaware that Myers was behind the wheel when he passed by him – only wrote Myers a warning for “not yielding to the emergency vehicle”.

“The traffic investigation revealed that Myers had been drinking alcohol before he was arrested,” the internal affairs investigation authorized March 25 said. Myers was not cited for drunk driving, even though Green believed he was drunk. Regardless of Myers’ ability to drive, Green arranged for a family member to drive Myers and Malheiros home.

Myers, for his part, at one point called the situation “fucked up and bullshit” and is heard on a body camera saying Green “needs to learn his place”.

The internal investigation found that Myers violated four driving standards, including “compliance with state and federal laws” (he failed to slow to the required speed of 20 mph below the speed limit when he yielded to an emergency vehicle). He risked termination. Instead, Myers and the agency signed a “last chance agreement” that allows Myers to retain his job in light of his nine years with the agency, “as well as his candor and acceptance of responsibility. of the incident(s)”, according to the wording of the agreement. He was demoted on August 10. He could still be fired if he is involved in an after-hours drinking problem, has a sustained allegation of misconduct, or if his job performance is deemed unsatisfactory. His probation could be shortened to 12 months.

The incident took place on February 17. Green had begun the unrelated traffic stop shortly after 10 p.m. Myers approached from behind, driving north on Palm Harbor Drive. Green said that as he exited his patrol vehicle, Myers “failed to slow down or pull out of the traffic lane,” the inquest says. “Worried about being hit by the vehicle, Green leaned his back against his vehicle as the vehicle passed within two feet. (Estimated) Green re-entered his patrol vehicle, ended his initial stop and attempted to stop the second vehicle.

He recognized Myers, who disputed Green’s claim that he had grown close to him. Green could smell “a strong odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle” and described Myers’ “glassy bloodshot eyes” to the internal investigator. Malheiros “appeared extremely drunk” and confused, but of course she was not driving: drunkenness is not illegal when not driving a vehicle. “Myers became argumentative, defensive and began harassing Green with ulterior motives for stopping traffic,” inquest findings continue as Myers suggested Green had something to gain of the traffic stop.

Myers had misguided Green, who had never handled a situation involving a senior officer and needed time to collect himself and make a decision. (The survey describes Green as “distressed”). “Green indicated that he issued a warning quote but had difficulty completing it due to his feelings about the interaction,” the inquest reads. When asked in the internal investigation if he had determined that Myers was intoxicated, Green said yes.

Green had gone so far as to separate Myers from Malheiros so that he would not be swayed by Malheiros’ alcoholic fumes as he judged Myers’ level of impairment. Once he did, Green could “still observe Myers’ smell of booze as well as watery, bloodshot eyes and [how he] seemed to be trying to hide clues from him and by this time Green felt that Myers was too impaired to drive.

He decided to write the warning note and arrange a ride home, which Myers objected, saying he was sober. Some 25 minutes later, Cmdr. Brian Finn – the only supervisor to come to the scene during the entire incident – ​​arrived, as did Malheiros’ son, who was to drive her and Myers home. Finn would tell the internal investigator that he told Green “he had to deal with this traffic like he would deal with any other traffic and it was completely at his discretion.”

Finn had no interaction with Myers. It was under the direction of Chief Bernard Woodward, over the phone. Woodward was the shift supervisor. This prevented him from making a decision about Myers’ disability, but “looking at the other body camera footage,” Finn told the internal investigator, “it certainly gives a little more credence to the fact that he was [impaired] but without conducting my own investigation, it’s really hard to say.

Deputy Laura Jenkins joined in the traffic stop and witnessed Myers’ confrontational behavior (“he was quite humiliating”), but no signs of weakening.

Myers’ contempt for Green during the stoppage went until Myers texted Green during the stop: “Are we going to stay here all night?” Later, he texted her, “Thank you for giving me the chance to do FSEs,” or field sobriety drills. Green didn’t respond either. (Myers would later make an issue, while speaking with the investigator, about Green not following procedure and administering field sobriety drills.)

The internal investigator – Randall Doyle – asked Green what he thought of the whole incident and Myers’ behavior and attitude. Green felt that Myers’ behavior was “below how anyone should act during a traffic stop, let alone a supervisor, deputy, or friend.” Green indicated that he believed these actions were the result of alcohol consumption,” the inquest states.

For Myers, there was a history between him and Green, he told the interviewer – a friendship that had taken a different turn recently when Green was “trying to influence members of the agency to join another union”, while Myers is a big supporter of the current union, the Police Benevolent Association. The tension around the unions has increased over the months. Myers thought the stoppage was somehow related to Green trying to tarnish his reputation. “That’s my opinion, I have nothing to base it on factually,” Myers told the interviewer. He never explained how the stoppage would have been part of Green’s vendetta when Green had no idea he was stopping a fellow assistant when he initiated the stoppage.

Myers acknowledged that in hindsight he could have handled things better during the stoppage. As for his level of impairment, he said he went to the European Village at 2 p.m. and drank “a total of 4-5 beers over an 8-hour period”, the last at 9 p.m.

“Do you feel like you’ve been so influenced that your normal abilities are impaired?” Doyle asked him.

“Absolutely not,” Myers replied.

“Doyle indicated that although he could not comment on his / Myers state of intoxication,” the investigator’s report states,
“His observations of his visual agitation and argumentative nature continue throughout the traffic stop with several individuals trying to encourage Myers to calm down and return to his vehicle. Doyle indicated that with the question of the level of intoxication, the individual looking from the outside and viewing the body camera footage could indicate the influence of alcohol. Yet while the internal investigation found Myers acted improperly, “Myers swore under oath that he was not intoxicated and his normal faculties were not impaired at the time of the incident. traffic stoppage and his regrettable behavior was solely based on said history between him and Green.”

As a result of the settlement between the sheriff’s office and the union, the union will not file a grievance or unfair labor practice complaint, even if Myers is fired if he is found to have violated the agreement. Meanwhile, Myers is not eligible for merit pay increases, promotions or special assignments.