Two Windermere officers under investigation, accused of profiling

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WINDERMERE, Fla. - Two Windermere Police Officers were under a criminal investigation, accused of profiling people they were supposed to be protecting.

“I read over the allegation. We decided to immediately suspend with pay the two officers,” said town manager Robert Smith.

Smith confirmed officers Ryan Miller and Jason Darnell were taken off the job in November, after Channel 9 got a tip and filed a public information request Wednesday.

The officers were accused of biased based profiling.

At the time, Interim Police Chief Ted Brown requested the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigate.

FDLE confirmed it was looking into this as part of a criminal investigation.

Channel 9 reporter Jeff Deal asked, “Who came forward with these allegations?”

“I can’t get into the specifics of the case,” said Smith.

While investigators wouldn’t say what the exact allegations were, Channel 9 learned they stem from incidents last June and may involve racial profiling.

Department documents show Darnell had been accused of racial profiling in 2009.

Miller had seven other complaints in his two years on the job, but had not been accused of profiling in the past.

These investigations follow a topsy-turvey two years that included the firing and arrest of Chief Daniel Saylor in 2011 after information surfaced he helped cover up a rape allegation against a friend.

New Chief Dave Ogden said he was hoping to move past the incident.

“Every violation of law, or violation of our policy will be looked at seriously under this administration,” said Ogden.

The town has 12 full-time officers and is now working with 10, including the chief.

But the chief said the sheriff’s office has agreed to help out if they run into any problems.