ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- Less than two weeks after St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar released a report blasting the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the head of that agency's local office is stepping down.
First Coast News has learned that Dominick Pape, Special Agent in Charge of FDLE's Jacksonville Regional Operation Center, is leaving the agency he has served for 25 years. A department spokesperson confirmed Pape was leaving, saying he had been offered another job.
Pape's departure comes after Sheriff Shoar issued a blistering criticism of the agency's handling of a 2010 death investigation.
FDLE investigated the death of Michelle O'Connell, the former girlfriend of St. Johns County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy Banks. O'Connell's death was initially ruled a suicide, but circumstances surrounding the incident raised questions, and the Medical Examiner who made the suicide determination later changed his mind, and ruled it a homicide.
FDLE began its probe into the O'Connell case at the sheriff's request, but after reviewing the agency's handling of the case, Shoar dubbed it "atrocious." He criticized FDLE investigative techniques as sloppy, and accused Pape and Agent Rusty Rodgers of "unethical conduct."
In late March, Shoar delivered his 152-page report to FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey, who said he would review Shoar's complaint, "to determine its validity. Bailey has not yet issued any formal findings. The Sheriff's Office declined comment.
First Coast News