A Florida police detective resigned last week after he stated there would be an “active shooter situation” if he did not get the job he wanted.
Steve Bergren turned in his resignation to the Tarpon Springs Police Department after the comment he made to a fellow detective on August 5, 2019, went public, according to the NY Post. Police Major Jeffrey Young said the comments made the “hairs on the back of [the co-worker’s] neck stand up.”
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Bergren wrote the police chief a letter explaining that he was joking and that he “failed to appreciate how recent tragic events could lead to a statement referencing an active shooter being misperceived,” however, that wasn’t enough.
“In his letter, he says it was in jest, but in hindsight it was ill-advised,” Young told the publication. “In today’s society, you just can’t say something like that and not be held accountable for it.”
Young continued saying it doesn’t make sense for law enforcement to ask that the public pay attention to “red flags” such as threatening an “active shooter situation,” while ignoring similar comments despite where they come from.
Bergren, who had been an officer since 2008, issued an apology to the police chief.
“I never imagined when the statement was made that it would be perceived … as a potential threat to our shared workplace,” he wrote.
However, it’s said that the detective who reported the comment told the department, “Bergren made this statement in a stoic manner and not giving any indication that this was a joke.”
Bergren was placed on leave, and an investigation was conducted, finding Bergren made a similar comment on May 10, 2019, telling co-workers about what might happen if he wasn’t appointed to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office’s drug task force.
At that time, co-workers thought Bergren was joking. “He is stoic, and they thought he just has a dry sense of humor,” Young said.
Per Tarpon Springs city rules, Bergren’s comments would be considered a workplace threat, according to the Times. The investigation will be sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Standards Commission for further review.