OCSO Major Disciplined for ‘Unbecoming Conduct’ during Veep Visit
An Orange County Sheriff’s major has been disciplined and cited for ‘unbecoming conduct’ and ‘unsatisfactory performance’ during U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to the Florida Democratic Convention, last October.
Major Danny Vereen, as the Incident Commander for the Vice President’s Detail, was unprepared and failed to review previously prepared documentation, including Incident Action Plans, an investigation undertaken by OCSO’s Professional Standard Section has concluded.
According to the report, Vereen refused to follow orders from the United States Secret agents and on more than one occasion entered a hallway at the Contemporary Resort which agents said needed to be kept clear. At one point, when stopped by an agent, Vereen brushed her off saying, “I know where I am going… I’m going to the Command Post,” an OCSO captain interviewed by the investigative team said.
The encounter was “one of the rudest things I have seen in a while for a member of our agency …,” the captain interviewed said.
Several deputies, sergeants and lieutenants present during the vice presidential visit and who were interviewed by the Professional Standards investigators, appeared better prepared than Vereen.
“The role of OCSO during the Florida Democratic Convention 2011 was, ‘To assist the Secret Service in, in anything that they needed… ’cause they, they were running the whole deal. They would tell us what they needed,” one deputy said.
A sergeant interviewed by investigators said, he stayed until it was clear to to leave “because I knew that we weren’t supposed to go back out there… until they (U.S. Secret Service) said we were allowed to pass that area again.”
Vereen, when he did arrive at the Command Post, “verbally and harshly criticized” the organization of the event, the report noted.
“Major Vereen failed to effectively prepare himself for this event by not conducting a walk-thru of the Contemporary Resort with the U.S. Secret Service, although several walk thru inspecitons were conducted prior to the event…” the report concluded.
The report also stated that Vereen failed to “review, in their entiretly all the previously prepared documentation to include Incident Action Plans, Operations Plans and Organizational Charts related to this critical event involving the Vice President of the United States.”
Vereen was cited and served a Notice of Discipline regarding ‘unbecoming conduct’ and ‘unsatisfactory performance.’ He received a written reprimand and has been suspended for 40 hours.