For the second time in three months, a Florida cop threatened to shoot up his workplace if he did not receive the job he wanted.
He ended up losing the job he had.
Tarpon Springs police officer Steve Bergren later said he was only joking but his comments made fellow officers fear for their lives. He resigned last week to avoid getting fired, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Bergren joined the force in 2008 and accumulated several disciplinary actions against him in the following years, including crashing his vehicle twice. In 2012, he was investigated and cleared for posting racist pictures to his Facebook page.
On May 10, Bergren made a similar comment but that was not taken as a threat.
“They thought he was just joking,” Young said. “That was his personality. He is stoic and they thought he just has a dry sense of humor.”
However, the regulations governing Tarpon Springs’ police officers and city employees are clear, the agency said. The chief sustained a complaint of conduct unbecoming a police officer against Bergren. The incident would also have been considered a workplace threat under city rules, which call for the employee to be terminated.
The internal investigation will be sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Standards Commission, which could affect Bergren’s state law enforcement officer certification.
Bergren joined the force in 2008. His personnel file includes numerous disciplinary actions. Those include a written reprimand in 2008 for missing a deposition, two more reprimands in 2015 and 2018 for vehicle crashes that were deemed his fault, and another 2018 incident in which he received “verbal counseling” for his conduct to the public. In 2012, he was cleared of an allegation that he posted racist pictures to his Facebook page.
On August 5, he told a fellow cop there would be an “active shooter situation” if he did not receive the position, which made “the hairs on the back of his neck stand up,” Tarpon Springs Police Maj. Jeffrey Young said in reference to the cop Bergren was conversing with.
The results of the internal investigation will be sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Standards Commission, which could affect Bergren’s state law enforcement officer certification, the Tampa Bay Times reported.