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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Jun. 15, 2022 1 month ago

Amid review, Oakland police Chief John Peek resigns

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Lt. Angela Campbell will temporarily lead the police department following John Peek’s departure.
by: Amy Quesinberry Community Editor

Oakland Police Chief John Peek has resigned after more than two years in the position. According to the town, he submitted his “resignation/retirement” letter to Town Manager Steve Koontz June 7.

It read: “Please accept this memorandum as my letter of intent announcing my retirement from the Oakland Police Department. I have been working for the Oakland Police Department in one capacity or another since July of 2006. During my tenure here, I have watched the town and the agency grow I incredible ways. I am truly proud and honored to have been a part of this community for so long.

“I leave an agency with some of the best law enforcement professionals I have ever worked with,” Peek wrote. “During my time as chief of police, I have greatly increased the amount of charity work and professional in-service training for the officers. I instituted body cams and set the agency on a path toward accreditation. I leave a community that I feel truly loves their police department.”

Peek’s resignation comes at the same time the town requested the Orange County Sheriff’s Office handle an administrative review.

“The town of Oakland asked the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to step in as an independent entity and review the complaint against the members of the police department to see whether any of Oakland PD’s policies were violated,” OCSO officials said. “The review is under way by our Human Resources division.”

According to town officials, this is not a criminal investigation.

Town and the police department officials would not comment on the administrative review. Because of confidentiality laws, town officials said they cannot discuss active investigation or release records.

“The town is working diligently to fill the leadership role at the police department,” town officials said. “Lt. (Angela) Campbell is temporarily in charge as we work to fill the leadership role at the police department.”

The investigation was requested following a May 23, 2022, letter from former Oakland police Sgt. Estid Lima sent to the town’s human resources director, Naureen O’Neale, and town manager, Steve Koontz, issuing a formal complaint against Lt. Campbell. He also has turned in his resignation.

The formal complaint read, in part:

“Lieutenant Angela Campbell’s behavior has affected me physically and emotionally. Since 2017, I’ve been terrified to bring up her hostile, discriminatory, abusive, intimidating and unprofessional behavior because of retaliation from Chief and herself. Therefore, I plea an international administrative investigation is conducted regarding this matter.”

Lima’s letter also referenced Christmas parties in 2017 and 2018 and Campbell’s inappropriate gifts, and he wrote: “Her actions made me feel more afraid and uncomfortable, especially when the administration allowed her to continue her misconduct.”

Deputy Chief Peek was promoted to the top position in January 2020 after the former chief, Steve Thomas, retired.

Peek was hired as a reserve officer with the Oakland Police Department in 2006 after spending 20 years with the Apopka Police Department. He took a brief leave and served one 10-month tour of duty with the U.S. Army. He returned to Oakland in 2008.

Campbell, who was hired as a reserve officer in 2009, rose through the ranks to become a full-time officer, corporal and sergeant. She was promoted to lieutenant in April 2020. She also served three years as the town’s police detective.

Campbell has more than 100 commendation letters in her file, and she earned the Distinguished Service Medal and twice received the Chief Award Ribbon for exemplary service, duty and commitment to the town.

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Amy Quesinberry is the community editor of the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. She was born and raised in Winter Garden, grew up reading the community newspaper and has been employed there as a writer, photographer and editor since 1990....

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