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Punta Gorda officer on paid administrative leave

Punta Gorda officer on paid administrative leave

By John Rupolo. CREATED Jul 18, 2012

PUNTA GORDA - Punta Gorda Police Officer Harvey Ayers was once named officer of the year and remains the police union president but he has been on paid administrative leave since June 13th while the department conducts a "professional standard investigation."

The department isn't saying why they are investigating Ayers again or why he was placed on paid leave because it remains an open investigation. We talked with Mayor Bill Albers earlier today.

"Why is Ayres under investigation," asked Fox 4 Reporter John Rupolo.

"I don't know," said Albers.

We began our investigation by requesting all disciplinary action involving Ayers. We discovered he has been the subject of multiple internal affairs investigations since he joined the force in 2003.

We discovered documents that show the department gave Ayres six written reprimands and one verbal reprimand - and he did not appeal them.

In 2004, Ayers was cited for mishandling seized narcotics, in 2007 he was written up for failing to appear in court despite being subpoened.  In 2007, he was reprimanded for failing to report a female officer  for showing him a pornographic video of herself,   In 2008, he was cited for not watching a prisoner who later escaped. In 2011, he was reprimanded for using his cruiser while off-duty.  And in 2012, he was written up for performing field sobriety tests out of the view of his in car video camera.

Ayers remains at home pending the outcome of this latest open internal affairs investigation - one that remains a mystery.

"He is innocent until proven guilty," said Albers.