Monday, February 16, 2009
Orlando Sentinel: Another Ex-Cop Faces Probe Over KKK Membership
That's the ex-cop, JAMES ELKINS, in the green KKK drag on the right
Ex-cop faces state review over Klan links
Sentinel Staff Writer
February 12, 2009
A Lake County police officer who resigned amid a probe into his association with the Ku Klux Klan should lose his law-enforcement certification, his former boss said Wednesday.
Fruitland Park police Chief J. M. Isom said he petitioned the Florida Department of Law Enforcement this week to revoke James Elkins' certification. He alleged Elkins is no longer fit to serve as a police officer -- not only because of his involvement with a hate group but because he lied to the chief under oath.
"If he'll lie to me, he'll lie in court," Isom said Wednesday. "I don't tolerate lying."
Elkins could not be reached for comment. His cell-phone number is no longer in service. State law prohibits authorities from disclosing his home address.
Isom began a probe of Elkins, 28, last month when Sumter County authorities notified the chief that a post-office box in the officer's name in Bushnell was listed as a mail point on a recruitment flier for the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Elkins, who also worked briefly for the Oakland, Center Hill and Wildwood police departments, was on medical leave and had been recently designated as a reserve officer when the chief began his probe. Elkins had been on leave since he was injured in a 2007 car crash while on duty.
Confronted on Jan. 17, Elkins denied that he was ever associated with the Klan and claimed that he had opened the post-office box for a friend who was moving to the area from Georgia, Isom said. Elkins resigned three days later.
Last week, photos of Elkins in a Klan gown and hood -- and police badge -- surfaced. The Lake County Sheriff's Office also provided Isom with documents indicating Elkins became a Klansman in December 2006 and was appointed a "district Kleagle" of the National Aryan Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in April 2007.
A "Kleagle" serves as a recruiter for a KKK chapter, according to Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project.
The FDLE has not yet received Isom's complaint, said Kristen Perezluha, an agency spokeswoman.
Perezluha said she was not certain whether Elkins' Klan membership would violate his law-enforcement certification's "moral character" clause.
The agency's Criminal Justice Standards & Training Commission will review the complaint and administer sanctions if Elkins is found to be in violation of Florida statutes and commission standards. His certification could be revoked or suspended.
Isom termed Elkins' association with the Klan "an embarrassment."
FDLE records show Elkins was first certified as a law-enforcement officer in Florida in September 2000.
Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. John Herrell, quoted in media reports last week about Elkins, said he received a call this week from a man who identified himself as Cole Thornton, Imperial Wizard of the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Thornton objected to a characterization of his organization as a "hate group," Herrell said.
Stephen Hudak can be reached at 352-742-5930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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