Manatee County school district investigator falls short

February 11, 2014 

I am shocked and disgusted that the Herald would print an editorial praising the work of school district investigator Troy Pumphrey. Have you read his investigative reports? I have. They are inquisitorial, unprofessional, and should be used in criminal justice classes as examples of how not to conduct an investigation.

Before praising someone for a job well done, at least have the sense to research what a quality investigative report looks like. Excellent examples are found in many criminal justice textbooks as well as on the websites of U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Navy, and several private investigative companies.

Pumphrey's reports fail to meet even a minimal standard of competence.

I spent several years prosecuting some of the most serious child abuse cases leading to termination of parental rights. I've read dozens of reports investigating whether adults failed to protect children from abuse. The worst of those reports were better written and contained more factual support than those written by Pumphrey in his (hopefully) short career with the district.

It is an embarrassment to the district, the school board, and the community at large that personnel and other decisions would be made based on such shoddy, biased, and unprofessional work.

The Herald claims that Pumphrey is the answer to district employees violating the public trust. After reading his reports, the only logical conclusion is that it is Pumphrey, the superintendent that hired him, and the school board that foolishly acts on his unsupported conclusions who are violating the public trust.

Scott Bassett


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