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TPD Chief DeLeo Faces Questions About His Office Relationship

Tallahassee Police Chief Mike DeLeo
Sascha Cordner

Tallahassee Police Chief Mike DeLeo and his wife are divorcing. They've been estranged for nearly a year. But DeLeo's decision to date one of his subordinates is raising questions in the City Manager's office.

DeLeo's divorce is expected to be finalized early next month. He and his soon-to-be ex-wife have two young sons. She filed for divorce this month.

DeLeo spoke with City Manager Anita Favors Thompson Monday regarding his relationship status. He'd been dating an investigator, but told the Tallahassee Democrat he stopped seeing her until the divorce was finalized.

City Manager Anita Favors Thompson released a statement through a spokeswoman.

"TheCity manager has been made aware the chief is dating an employee in the department. She has counseled the chief, is  concerned about this issue, and is reviewing the situation to get all the facts."

The city does not have a policy against inter-office dating, but does prohibit relatives reporting to each other. But DeLeo's problem may be more a matter of perception.

"There's no policy related to dating in the same department, but its not a desired situation because it can create the perception of favoritism," said the city's spokeswoman.

DeLeo was named TPD Chief in 2013 after the former chief, Dennis Jones, was ousted in the wake of a controversial DUI arrest and beating of Christina West. DeLeo has been working to clean up the department, which has faced accusations of excessive use of force. Most recently, he's pushed for the hiring of more police officers, and the city is considering increasing property taxes to pay for it.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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