Sanford Police Chief Lee Gone…Not so Fast
At a special Sanford Commission meeting at 4:00 p.m., Monday, Commissioners voted 3-2 to reject the resignation of Bill Lee.
“In light of the vote, Chief Lee will remain on paid administrative leave while an investigation continues into the handling of the Trayvon Martin case by the Sanford Police Department,” said City Manager, Norton Bonaparte, Jr.
Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee is expected to be relieved from that post at midnight tonight.
City Manager Norton Bonapart, the only one who could fire Lee, will ask the Sanford Commission at a special meeting at 4:00 p.m. to approve a resolution to execute the separation agreement of the chief.
Lee stepped aside on March 22, less than one day after Sanford City commissioners passed a vote of no confidence in him, following the bungling of the Trayvon Martin fatal shooting investigation.
Martin was shot and killed by self-appointed neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, 28, on February 26, but was never arrested or charged until six weeks later when a special prosecutor was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott.
Since Lee temporarily stepped down, there have been persistent calls for him to resign as chief, as there was lost of confidence in his leadership. Now, that is expected to happen at mid-night when he will be terminated.
Captain Darren Scott a 23-year veteran of the Sanford Police Department was appointed Acting Chief and has been managing the department since that time. Acting Chief Scott will continue in this role with the department while the City continues its search for an interim police chief, a statement from the Sanford Police department said.
“I am confident that Acting Chief Scott will continue to provide the leadership necessary to keep this agency functioning at the highest level and protect the citizens of the City of Sanford,” said Bonaparte. “The City has experienced great turmoil in the past two months and we are hoping to stabilize the department and continue with this time of healing.”
The City is working with consultants from the Police Executive Research Firm (PERF), in seeking an interim police chief. The firm is expected to have qualified persons identified for the interim chief’s position by the end of this month.