KISSIMMEE, Fla. — 9 Investigates the changes within the Kissimmee Police Department after the agency terminated the second officer in as many years for serious allegations related to domestic violence.
Luis Perez was arrested in the fall of 2021 for “written threats to kill.” 9 Investigates got ahold of the internal affairs investigation showing those text messages that were sent to another officer the now-fired Perez had been dating.
>>> STREAM CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS LIVE <<<
One of those texts from Oct. 22, 2021, stated, “I can’t wait until the day I black out and have the courage to shoot you in your (expletive) face. You have no idea.”
Another, from September 2020, stated, “I warned you and I’m going to (expletive) kill whoever you’re with. That’s that.” The next day, the victim found a GPS tracker underneath her vehicle she believed was placed by Perez.
READ: Kissimmee police officer arrested after allegedly threatening his ex-girlfriend
“It was very concerning to me, obviously,” Kissimmee Police Chief Jeff O’Dell said. “Those types of messages that we ultimately found, you know, there was nothing characteristic of his performance here at the station.”
That is the second internal affairs investigation within the agency over just the course of a month dealing with domestic issues. In the other case, Lieutenant Erica Castellucci’s discipline was reduced and charges were dropped after her partner explained she never felt in fear during an argument in which Castellucci was accused of battery and false imprisonment. She told her chain of command that she suffers from PTSD.
READ: Kissimmee police lieutenant arrested on domestic violence charges
It is also the second serious case of dating threats or violence within the agency in as many years. Antonio Johnson was accused of breaking several of his pregnant girlfriend’s phones so that she could not call 911 during a 2020 fight.
O’Dell said it signals a need for a holistic approach within the department.
READ: Kissimmee police officer resigns after investigators say he lied about being carjacked after driving drunk into pond
“I had a committee, you know, how can we enhance our wellness program, and one of the recommendations for the committee was a dedicated wellness coordinator,” Chief O’Dell said.
That dedicated position is being pitched to city leaders, and would provide resources for employees who are struggling or in a dangerous situation. In Both Perez and Johnson’s cases, the victims were also KPD officers.
“I think traditionally we’ve looked at maybe substance abuse or mental health, but we also, I think, need to incorporate relationship advice and those types of counseling,” O’Dell said. “I think that would benefit anyone.”
READ: Pilot program to let some first-time misdemeanor offenders in Orange, Osceola avoid arrest
As part of the research for this position, the agency sent an officer to visit Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office, which has a dedicated wellness officer in place.
Perez’ criminal case is ongoing.
Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.
©2022 Cox Media Group