TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said it terminated one of its deputies on Tuesday after learning he falsified a report to cover his own inactivity.
The PCSO Administrative Investigation Division said Deputy Joshua Sacino, 29, was ordered to “conduct proactive initiatives” on March 30 to enforce traffic laws around Seminole Boulevard.
Instead, Sacino ignored his orders and surfed the internet in his patrol vehicle for four hours, the sheriff’s office said.
At the end of this time period, Sacino’s supervisor asked the deputy to give statistics and case numbers on what he did on his shift.
The sheriff’s office said Sacino lied about conducting one traffic stop and giving a verbal warning to the driver when, in actuality, he did no such thing. He also ignored requests for case numbers and documentation of the traffic stop.
After being questioned about his inactivity, Sacino drove to a Walmart parking lot, ran a random license plate number and left. Investigators said Sacino then made a false report about someone telling him about drug activity related to the vehicle in question, lying about the owner’s involvement in a drug crime.
“Deputy Sacino did this for self-serving reasons, to conceal his lack of activity and incompetence, with no regard of the consequences this report could have had for the citizen involved, or for any citizen operating that vehicle in the future,” Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said.
Sacino’s supervisor questioned him after reviewing the activity on the deputy’s body camera, in-car camera, and Computer Aided Dispatch.
When asked if the traffic stop actually happened, Sacino told the supervisor he just gave them a verbal warning for a traffic violation. Upon further confrontation, Sacino then admitted he lied about the incident and that the traffic incident didn’t happen, according to the sheriff’s office.
“Deputy Sacino intentionally attached a citizen and their vehicle to a narcotic-related report that could have adversely impacted the citizen,” a PCSO statement said.
The report was deleted from the sheriff’s office records, and nothing happened to the person who was falsely implicated in drug activity, the statement said.
Sacino was hired on Nov. 13, 2017 and was officially terminated June 28, 2022.