Pubdate: Tue, 28 Nov 2017
Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL)
Copyright: 2017 News-Journal Corporation
Author: Patricio G. Balona


A DeLand police officer was fired, another suspended without pay and a
third reprimanded this month after they lost methamphetamine collected
as evidence at a home over the summer, Internal Affairs documents show.

Officers Michael Mirino, John Rutherford and Thomas Gillan responded
to a home on July 14 to stand by as members of Probation and Parole
searched the Lazy River Lane home of Cameron Rando, 19, who was on
probation for grand theft and burglary of an unoccupied dwelling
according to reports released this week.

Guns, pills and a small amount of white powdery substance, which
Mirino tested and proved to be methamphetamine, were found by
Probation and Parole and turned over to the DeLand police officers,
investigative reports state.

Rando was arrested that day and charged with violation of

The methamphetamine never made it to the evidence room, investigators
said. And although Probation and Parole officers reported that the
meth was found, Gillan's report did not mention the methamphetamine
nor did he list the narcotics on the property page.

Mirino and Rutherford also did not prepare supplement reports of the
events as required by department policy, reports state.

A prosecutor inquired about the drug 13 days later and police
discovered the methamphetamine was missing, reports indicate.

Mirino was fired Nov. 2, Gillan got a letter of reprimand Nov. 5 and
Rutherford served an eight-hour suspension without pay Nov. 8.

Each officer had his version of the events of July 14 after the drugs
were found.

Mirino said he tested the narcotics that showed it was methamphetamine
and then handed it to Rutherford. Rutherford said he did not remember
Mirino giving him the drug and a search of Rutherford's patrol vehicle
failed to find the missing meth, investigators said.

Rutherford gave Gillan a package with the evidence collected from the
Lazy River Lane home but Gillan did not check with Mirino or
Rutherford to verify the contents of the package, investigators said.

"Your submission was missing a small amount of narcotics which was
lost as a result of several officers handling it and passing it along
for processing," Gillan's supervisor wrote in the letter of reprimand.

Gillan was reprimanded after an investigation concluded he was
careless in the doing his job and Rutherford was suspended for being
careless and failing to write a report.

The missing methamphetamine was one more on Mirino's lengthy
disciplinary record, so the Chief Jason Umberger and his command staff
recommended the officer's firing.

Since 2007, Mirino has been disciplined 10 times including being
suspended twice, He was disciplined for multiple issues including
unprofessional conduct, sleeping on duty, missing a court hearing,
failing to conduct a thorough investigation, and carelessness, which
had to do with an accidental discharge of a firearm, records how.
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