Monday, July 27, 2009

Suspended deputy had good evaluations

By TOM BRENNAN The Tampa Tribune

Spencer's personnel file showed a series of satisfactory evaluations with continuous merit raises since his hiring in August 2005.

Spencer was suspended Thursday without pay after being charged with misdemeanor battery on a juvenile inmate and a felony charge of official misconduct for allegedly lying when he filled out a report of the incident.

A fellow detention deputy turned Spencer in to supervisors.

The inmate, Sean Walker, 16, was being held in a confinement cell in the Falkenburg Road Jail because of his age. He was arrested in March on a robbery charge.

Investigators said that when deputies approached Walker's cell door Wednesday, Walker spat through a food tray slot.

Spencer opened the door, charged Walker and knocked him to the floor face down, according to investigators. Spenser then hit Walker with his fist on the back of the head. Authorities said Walker received a 1-inch cut and did not require hospitalization.

Performance reviews in September 2006 and 2007 gave Spenser satisfactory marks in all performance categories, the highest rating available.

His pay rose from $16.50 per hour to $21.06 in July 2008.

"Deputy Spencer's major strength is his willing attitude. He will complete any task assigned to him without question of complaint," the 2007 evaluation said.

The only area marked for improvement that year was Spencer's personal appearance. The evaluation said he worked hard to lose weight and tone up. But he was asked to have his uniforms tailored "for a crisper look."

He was listed as 5 feet, 10 inches tall and 265 pounds on his jail booking form.

In 2006, officials said Spencer was extremely computer-oriented but sometimes too willing to assist coworkers.

"Needs to be more attentive to own task first and then attempt to help others with theirs," the evaluation said.

That evaluation said Spenser was settling into his job.

"Deputy Spencer has displayed a sense of being "comfortable' within the correctional setting," it said.

He is a 1994 graduate of R.R. Robinson High School in Tampa and attended Hillsborough Community College.

Before being hired as a detention deputy, Spencer worked as a senior teller at Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union. Before that, he worked at Target and Publix on Gandy Boulevard.

At Target he was rated as excellent employee who was prompt and courteous and could be counted on to get the job done.

Letters of reference said he was a smart Christian who doesn't drink, smoke, or take drugs. Easy to get a long with. Loves life and spreading optimism.

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