Veteran Bradenton officer Warren Merriman faces charges of petty theft
BRADENTON -- The Manatee Sheriff's Office has concluded its internal affairs investigation of allegations against Bradenton Police Deputy Chief Warren Merriman.
Merriman, a 17-year veteran with the police department, was charged with three misdemeanor counts of petty theft Oct. 23 after weeks of investigation. He is charged with submitting hours not completed during off-duty details, and with asking a subordinate to help him with a home project while on duty.
The investigation into allegations against Merriman became public Sept. 8 when the city placed him on paid administrative leave. Because Merriman's rank places him over the Internal Affairs Department, Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski asked the Manatee County Sheriff's Office to handle the investigation.
After filing criminal allegations against Merriman, investigators at the sheriff's office continued their investigation into whether Merriman had violated any administrative policies.
Radzilowski confirmed Thursday afternoon he had received the sheriff's office report and was reviewing it.
"We are going through it as we speak because we have to come up with what we believe are violations or non-violations," he said.
The internal investigation report was voluminous, he added
"It's like five large telephone books," Radzilowski said.
Manatee Sheriff's Office Sgt. Mark Holden, who handled part of the investigation, confirmed he had completed his investigation and handed it over to Radzilowski and Internal Affairs Lt. Josh Cramer.
"It's going to take days to read," Radzilowski said.
He said he expected to take Friday and the weekend to review the report before deciding what, if any, action to take.
If there are any violations, he said, he would also need to decide what the penalties should be.
Merriman is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 20 for a pretrial conference about the criminal charges against him. He has pleaded not guilty to all three counts.
His attorney, Brett McIntosh, was unavailable for comment Thursday.
Merriman declined to comment Thursday.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.