Corruption in Daytona & New Smyrna cop shops paramount

Police Chiefs Michael Chitwood & George Markert at forefront of scandals

Daytona Beach PD Chief Michael Chitwood in scandal / Headline SurferNSBPD Chief George Markert in ticket fixing scandal / Headline SurferDaytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood, shown far left, is all to eager to hand deliver to the media the juicy scandals in his police force while protecting his own administrators while newly-hired New Smyrna Beach Police Chief George Markert (shown in the inset) is left to clean up a scandal he inherited as the new police chief in New Smyrna Beach

DAYTONA BEACH -- Things are not always as they appear, especially when high-salaried administrators are all too eager to feed the mainstream media the juicy and all-too predictable stories on those in the lower levels of policing -- the men and women who put their lives on the line every time they hop into a patrol car to answer a call.

Daytona Beach Sgt. Penny Dane quit after nude photo scandal / Headline SurferDBPD Captain Jim Newcomb has a history of alleged sex harassment of women cops / Headline SurferPenny Dane, the ex-Daytona Beach Police Sgt. was held up for ridicule in the media by Police Chief Michael Chitwood with his version of why she resigned after admitting to posting several hundred nude and semi-nude photos of herself online using city computers.

Jim Newcomb, shown here at right, was promoted to captain of the DBPD and second in command by Chief Michael Chitwood last year despite a history of extensive complaints of sexual harassment by women cops under his command.

Sure, an attractive female sergeant in the Daytona Beach police force posting nude and semi-nude photos online through city-issued computers is sensational, but doesn't it make you wonder why the chief of police is so eager to get that out to the media while keeping under wraps the fact that one of his captains was involved in ticket fixing?

Michael Chitwood not only is eager to tell any TV camera pointing his way how much he wants to make sure ex-Sgt. Penny Dane's state-issued police certificate needs to be removed, but that he'll personally see to it that it happens.

Michael Chitwood not only is eager to tell any TV camera pointing his way how much he wants to make sure ex-Sgt. Penny Dane's state-issued police certificate needs to be removed, but that he'll personally see to it that it happens.

Yet, Chitwood's silent on a captain, whose name will be revealed in a story we're working on and publishing later in the next day or two, if not sooner, who fixed a ticket for a lawyer.

That was more than a year ago. We already reported the situation with another of Chitwood's captains, Jim Newcomb, promoted to the No. 2 position in the Daytona Beach Police Department despite extensive complaints of sexual harassment by women cops whose complaints went nowhere and still have to report to him since his promotion.

Isn't it funny how the mainstream media said Dane complained about harassment from a supervisor, which Chitwood claimed had no merit, yet they didn't name the supervisor or even show the readers they made an attempt to check him out?

We will and show you the connections. The situation is just as bad in New Smyrna Beach where the city paid off former Police Chief Ron Pagano last October to the tune of nearly $70,000 to make him go away quietly while trying to keep under wraps massive thefts and otherwise unaccounted for items in the police evidence room -- more than 940 in all, including $8,000-plus in cash, firearms, ammunition, narcotics, jewelry, electronics and even automobiles.

Pagano's contract was replaced by a new one that was approved in October without it being posted ahead of time on the agenda (it came up under city manager reports), with a motion and second to approve by retiring commissioners Lynne Plaskett and Jim Hathaway -- without any of the dollar amounts or merits of it being discussed.

It was orchestrated by City Manager Pam Brangaccio and Mayor Adam Barringer, both of whom are the subject of multiple investigations by the Florida Commission on Ethics. So five months go by and Brangaccio hires a new police chief, George Markert, a senior administrator in the Rochester, NY, police force.

Markert inherits this mess coming in the door.

Former NSBPD Chief Ron Pagano caught up in theft scandal / Headline SurferNSB Mayor Adam Barringer facing multiple Florida Ethics complaints / Headline SurferNSB City Manager Pam Brangaccio facing multiple Florida ethics complaints / Headline SurferHeadline Surfer photos / Former New Smyrna Beach Police Chief Ronald Pagano got a sweetheart retirement contract to go away amid a theft scandal in the evidence room of the police department, a deal orchestrated by Mayor Adam Barringer and City Manager Pam Brangaccio, shown in center and right, respectively, and paving the way for the hiring of Georege Markert as Pagano's replacement.

When the city manager learned Headline Surfer was going to publish a story on the evidence room scandal, she had a press release drawn up after 5 p.m. on a Friday and sent to the media with a note that stated FDLE and other reports could be accessed by contacting the city clerk.

Brangaccio knew as long as the media got something to pacify them and ruin with the story on her terms, she only had to deliver a one-liner quote which came from the interim chief, Michael Brouilllete, who stated in the release he was "shocked" by the missing items, but that it was being addressed.

Headline Surfer was the only media outlet not to report from the press release that weekend. Instead, the 24/7 internet newspaper demanded the FDLE and supplemental documents and that Monday had a story that had the total going from one grand to eight grand and the extent of the missing items, which was not described in the original press release.

The same thing happened with the nude cop story out of Daytona. Police Chief Chitwood -- nicknamed "Microphone Mike" by the police union -- spoon fed the Orlando TV stations and the Daytona Beach News-Journal the juicy details on former Sgt. Dane, but he did not provide anything to Headline Surfer or to the New York Daily News.

Tonight, Headline Surfer will provide the public with the details Chitwood doesn't want out there --the story behind the story, which calls into question his leadership and even why Daytona Beach officials continue to ignore the growing embarrassment created by Chitwood and his Buford Pusser Walking Tall persona.

If you are a male in the DBPD and are involved in sexual harassment of a female under your command, the complaints by the woman cop get turned around and they find themselves being shown the door while the supervisor either gets a free pass or in Newcomb's case, promoted.

Henry Frederick Picture

Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most experienced reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards. Frederick is enrolled online at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's a third of the way though the Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation will be in March 2018.