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Forensic Science Specialist for Sheriff’s Office Fired for Falsifying Documents – CBS Tampa

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – A forensic scientist with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has been fired after an investigation found she falsified forensic documents on April 4.

According to the Administrative Investigations Division, in November 2021, specialist Shantele Dixon was granted two processing requests for two separate criminal cases. Requests included retrieving evidence from the Assets and Evidence Division, maintaining an accurate chain of custody, completing evidence processing, and documenting actions taken in logs, notebooks, and the drafting system. agency reports.

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On November 29, 2021, Dixon retrieved two pieces of evidence from the Property and Evidence Division and gave both pieces to another specialist to complete claims processing. Dixon did not transfer custody to the other specialist knowing she would be leaving for the day, due to the end of her shift.

The other specialist treated an item using the cyanoacrylate (superglue) fumigation chamber and M-star, a luminescence dye chemical. The second item was treated using the cyanoacrylate fumigation chamber and black magnetic powder. Both items, along with the processing request and notes on the processing methods used, were placed in Dixon’s secure locker at the Division of Forensic Science by the other specialist.

On December 2, 2021, Dixon reviewed the items and treatment notes. Dixon reprocessed one element using black magnetic power which resulted in no visible ridge detail and reprocessed the second element using M-star which resulted in ridge detail visible. Dixon falsely documented in her notebook that she used M-star and an alternate light source on the item which was treated using only black magnetic powder. Dixon also did not note that the other specialist performed some of the treatments listed in his notebook.

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In the agency’s reporting system, Dixon intentionally and knowingly falsified accounts, stating that she used the cyanoacrylate fumigation chamber on November 29, 2021, when in fact the other specialist performed this step in the processing sequence. Dixon also intentionally and knowingly falsified accounts by omitting that one item was treated with M-star and the other item was treated with black magnetic powder on the same date. On one of the accounts, Dixon intentionally and knowingly falsified the account, stating that the object had been treated with M-star and an alternate light source had been used, which was a lie.

Dixon admitted to omitting and falsifying his actions and the actions of the other specialist in his official supplemental reports and notebooks, and failed to maintain chain of custody, which is a violation of both the policy and the agency procedure and accreditation standards. She also admitted that falsifying reports could negatively impact successful criminal prosecutions, saying she was “cutting corners”.

As a result of the investigation, the Administrative Review Board determined that Specialist Dixon committed these violations and Sheriff Gualtieri fired Dixon effective Monday, April 4.

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The investigation is continuing.


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