July 28, 2007
Radar class probe could jeopardize officer training, tickets
By LYDA LONGA
A Flagler County sheriff's deputy who taught a radar and laser class to law enforcement officers in the area is under investigation for falsifying records from the class -- including grades, police officials confirmed Friday.
The 40-hour course was taught at Daytona Beach Community College by Flagler deputy David Barbee, DBCC spokesman Glyn Johnston said.
The 34-year-old Barbee, who has been with the Flagler Sheriff's Office since 1997, has been placed on administrative leave and is under investigation by his department, Sheriff Don Fleming said. He's also under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, police officials said.
Reached by phone Friday night, Barbee declined to comment.
Officers who graduated from Barbee's class Jan. 26 will probably have to retake the course.
Daytona Beach police, for example, sent 25 students to the laser/radar speed measurement class, while the Volusia County Sheriff's Office sent seven deputies.
"My concern is will we have to pay for this class again for 25 police officers?" Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood asked Friday. "And what could the legal ramifications be?"
The deputy is accused of allowing students to leave class early, changing the grades of some students and falsifying attendance records.
Chitwood said he is concerned whether the training given by Barbee is valid. He said he's also worried about the speeding tickets his officers may have handed out on the basis of the training and whether those citations were fair and legitimate.
Friday afternoon, Johnston confirmed the results of the probe by announcing in a written statement: "It was found that a previous instructor did not follow procedures and allegedly falsified documents relating to class attendance and testing."
Johnston also sent a short statement from Victoria Marsey, bureau chief for the FDLE's Bureau of Standards: "While there does not appear to be any irregularities on the part of the training center or your staff, we will provide you with a full report indicating the outcome and what action will be taken."
The radar class issue was a topic Friday morning at the monthly police chiefs' meeting, Daytona Beach Deputy Chief Ben Walton said. Port Orange Police Chief Gerald Monahan said he was in the process of determining how many of his officers had taken Barbee's class.
Of the seven Volusia deputies who took the course, only five remain with the department, and they'll have to take a refresher course on the radar class in early August, Sheriff's Office spokesman Gary Davidson said.
"After the refresher course, DBCC and the FDLE are expected to make a determination as to whether this will satisfy the requirements for obtaining their radar certification, or whether the deputies will be required to retake the class," Davidson said.
The class, which is considered specialty training, is required for police officers who operate laser and radar guns.
-- Staff Writer Heather Scofield contributed to this report.