Lake County

Police chief recommends termination of Tavares officer

TAVARES, Fla. — The Tavares police chief announced Friday that she is recommending that a police officer be terminated following an internal affairs investigation.

Chief Sarah Coursey said the investigation revealed that officer Jason Baugh, who’s been with the department for 14 years, violated city policy during an interaction with a citizen. That violation, she said, should result in his termination.


“Officer Baugh acted outside of policy and standard practice,” she said. “When we learned of this incident, we took immediate action to rectify it.”

During the incident, police said Baugh tased a man after questioning him about his car. Officers said the man was not under arrest and not being detained. It was what police considered a “consensual encounter.”

When investigators questioned Baugh about his use of the taser, Baugh said he suspected the car could have been involved in a hit-and-run crash because of damage to its windshield. Baugh said he was in fear for his safety.

“His actions are not indicative of how our officers act towards our community in which we serve and protect.,” Coursey said.

Read: Tavares police officer files grievance with city over double-demotion

The man was arrested for resisting without violence, but prosecutors did not charge him. Instead, the investigation shifted to Baugh. And the investigation found, “Ofc. Baugh’s use of force is objectively unreasonable.”

Baugh has a right to appeal the chief’s finding, but there is no word whether he plans to do that.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson,

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

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