Belle Isle police chief calls department 'toxic' in resignation letter



BELLE ISLE, Fla. - Belle Isle's outgoing police chief claims in his resignation letter a hostile work environment forced him to retire.
Channel 9's Kathi Belich received a copy of the letter Thursday.
Belich reported recently that Chief Tom Jackson was accused of ordering one of the department's sergeants to revoke a suspect's arrest.
Jackson is also being investigated after accusations that he ordered a detective not to do full background checks on some new hires.
In his resignation letter, Jackson insists his department was a hostile place to work. He called the environment at the police department "toxic."  
He accuses some officers of having hidden, self-serving interests, and blamed them for forcing him out.
One city commissioner blames Jackson. She said it was obvious to her that he has lost control of his department.
Jackson wrote the letter to city leaders and residents two weeks before he walked out for good Wednesday afternoon.
Jackson wrote that because of some officers' "narrow mindset and animosity, they have created a work environment that has become toxic, fragmenting the cohesiveness of the department ... Animosity and resentment is like a weed, once it grows and takes over, there is no controlling it."
City Commissioner Sue Nielsen had a different take.
"To me it kind of is an admission that there've been problems in the department for a while and he hasn't been able to deal with them effectively. It sounds like the department is out of his control," said Nielsen.
Nielson said she agrees with another commissioner's call last week for Jackson and City Manager Keith Severns to go on paid leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates allegations Jackson ordered the a suspect whose father is a friend of the city manager be released.
FDLE is also investigating allegations that Jackson directed a sergeant not to do full background checks on officers being hired from the chief's old department in Longwood.
That police sergeant spoke with Channel 9 about the background check allegations against Jackson.
"I didn't think it was right and I voiced my concerns but he's my chief," said Sgt. Bill Parsell.
Jackson ends the letter by saying those with hidden agendas won.
FDLE officials said they could be sending the results of their investigation to the State Attorney's Office sometime in the next couple of weeks.