9 Investigates Sanford's new pick for deputy chief

by: Karla Ray Updated:

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - The Sanford Police Department is set to officially announce its new deputy chief, and 9 Investigates reporter Karla Ray found the new second in command is someone who has made headlines before.

Sanford police Chief Cecil Smith will promote Capt. Anthony Raimondo to the position after only two people applied for the job.

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Raimondo was once accused by a judge of perjury, but later cleared of wrongdoing by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He was one of only two applicants for the deputy chief position after Smith limited the search to internal applicants only. 

“Were there some mistakes made in his past? Absolutely. Were they investigated and looked into? Absolutely,” Smith said.

Prosecutors were forced to drop a case in 2010 against a convicted felon after Raimondo was accused of lying about the evidence. FDLE investigated the then-sergeant of perjury in the case, but he was cleared. 

9 Investigates also uncovered that Raimondo was the sergeant in charge the night a police lieutenant’s son was caught on camera attacking a homeless man. An arrest was only made in that case after 9 Investigates exposed the video.

“In both of those cases, he was exonerated,” Smith said.

Former police chief and certified law enforcement expert Chuck Drago said even the perception of discrepancies would have prompted other agencies to open up the search to outsiders.

“I guarantee you if a department like Sanford put out a notice that they're looking for a deputy police chief, they'd be overwhelmed with good potential candidates who would be interested in doing it,” Drago said.

Smith pointed out one of his top priorities since taking his position four years ago is officer retention and career development. He’s hired around 60 officers in that time, which is about half of the entire police force, and he said he wants to see them stick around.

“I think in order for our agency to grow, we have to make sure our people are prepared to take those next steps,” Smith said.

Both applicants had decades of police experience and master’s degrees, but Raimondo received nearly a perfect score when interviewed by an outside panel of police and fire officials.  

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