Editor’s Note: Mayor Wayne Poston noted that Warren Merriman had applied for a position with the city. Merriman, in fact, offered in March to drop out of the race if the city would hire him back as fiscal services supervisor for the police department. Poston also said that Merriman had emailed him the request, but Merriman said he followed proper procedures by applying through the city’s human resources department. Poston misstated the position and process. This story has been updated.
BRADENTON -- Former Bradenton deputy police chief and mayoral candidate Warren Merriman’s hearing in front of the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission at which he could be stripped of his law enforcement certification has been moved to January.
The hearing had originally been set for Thursday.
The FDLE has filed an administrative complaint against Merriman, which could lead to a suspension or revocation of Merriman’s law enforcement certification stemming from his January 2015 termination from the Bradenton Police Department and eventual conviction for petit theft.
Merriman said last month he had the option to delay the hearing until after the Nov. 8 election but chose not to do so. He now says he was contacted by a Bradenton Police Department employee willing to testify on his behalf, “which could result in a dismissal of the administrative complaint in its entirety.”
Merriman said the witness will bring doubt to the credibility of the sworn statements against him, but the witness is “afraid to testify under oath under the current (administration) because they would face immediate retaliation.”
The delay means Merriman won’t face the possibility of losing his certification five days before the election for mayor. In Bradenton, the mayor also holds the position of police commissioner.
We think he ought to go ahead and show up instead of making excuses.
Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston
“We think he ought to go ahead and show up instead of making excuses,” said Mayor Wayne Poston, who is running for re-election Nov. 8 against Merriman and Eleuterio Salazar Jr. “If I were him, I would want to get it over with.”
In a letter to the FDLE, Bradenton police Capt. John Affolter outlined the department’s case for the FDLE to present to the CJSTC panel. Affolter writes that Merriman was not an inexperienced officer when he chose to break the law.
“He was not a new or young officer who simply did not know any better,” the letter states. “Mr. Merriman was a highly trained member of the Bradenton Police Department who should have known his actions were unethical and unlawful.”
Many of the violations against him are directly related to his lack of honesty and discretion.
Bradenton police Capt. John Affolter, in a letter to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
The official FDLE complaint alleges Merriman is guilty of violating CJSTC standards based on his conviction and that he failed to maintain the qualifications that require a law enforcement officer to have “good moral character.”
“Warren Merriman’s actions tarnished the image of the Bradenton Police Department and impacted confidence in our stakeholders,” Affolter wrote. “Many of the violations against him are directly related to his lack of honesty and discretion.”