Sarasota County Commissioners

HARVEY JOHN AYERS - FIRED.

This is another article from approximately 5 years ago.

Fired police corporal accused of misconduct.

By DREW WINCHESTER

STAFF WRITER
PUNTA GORDA — Punta Gorda Police Cpl. Harvey Ayers was fired Friday following a months-long internal investigation into his conduct, in which investigators say he allowed a woman who was riding along with him in his patrol car to act like a sworn police officer on the night of May 28.

Ayers, 35, had been on paid administrative leave since June 13, and he has 10 days to appeal the termination, according to PGPD Chief Albert “Butch” Arenal.

Arenal said he was disappointed by Ayers’ actions, especially his lack of truthfulness during the investigation process. Ayers was found to have lied to investigators on several occasions, according to reports.

“The untruthfulness charge is at the heart of everything that evening, and was a major factor in the decision-making process,” Arenal said. “There’s nothing more important than an officer’s integrity.”

Ayers was found to have committed 10 violations, according to investigators.

Nelvin Weiner, attorney for Ayers, said his client definitely will appeal the firing.

Weiner said the firing was a “personality-driven response” in which a superior officer within the PGPD was using a personal vendetta as a driving force behind the termination. Weiner would not name the officer, but said he did not believe it was Arenal.

“Look at his record,” Weiner said of Ayers. “He’s gotten recognition for being a committed and compassionate officer, and it seems counterproductive to get rid of good officers for minor reasons.”

According to reports, Ayers took Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office correctional officer Britney Senger for a ride-along in his patrol vehicle on the night of May 28, and into the morning of May 29.

Reports state Ayers allowed Senger to carry a firearm and represent herself as a sworn law enforcement officer, despite having certification as only a corrections officer.

Senger approached vehicles during road stops, conducted searches of cars, participated in sobriety tests and drew her weapon while she and Ayers conducted a search of Good Shepherd Day School on Shreve Street, according to reports.

Ayers also hit 96 mph in his patrol car on Aqui Esta Drive while responding to a call, the report states. Senger eventually would walk through blood at the scene of the call where Ayers responded, although it did not end up being a crime scene. Ayers and Senger also joked about a child with Down syndrome during a traffic stop, calling him “retarded,” the report states.

Ayers denied being in a romantic relationship with Senger, despite admitting they hold hands, take trips together and have kissed on occasion. Senger stayed at Ayers’ home following her ridealong shift, and did not return to her car at the police station the next day, the report states.

CCSO officials declined to comment, but did say they were conducting their own internal affairs investigation into Senger’s actions. It’s unknown whether she is on paid leave during the investigation.

Ayers had been with the department since 2003, and made $45,371 annually at the time of his termination. Ayers made 1,400 total arrests during his time with the department, and received 18 total complaints lodged against him by those he arrested. Most of the allegations were not sustained by department investigations, according to records.

Email: dwinchester@sun-herald.com


"The guy has to say something about everything!!! It's all against him, and he is a crusader for justice (LOL) watch that go on a website!!" As quoted by Sergio Gonzalez of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation - Regional Program Administrator.

Harvey Ayers
Sarasota County
Code Corruption