Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Lake City News

LCPD Capt John Blanchard: Innocent until proven guilty FDLE, Florida's paper tiger, involved in another mess

LAKE CITY, FL – The recent reports of Lake City Police Department Captain John Blanchard being put on administrative leave only tell part of the story. Since the City Council meeting of Monday evening, January 23d, more information concerning the events surrounding the administrative leave and the alleged charges regarding Captain Blanchard have surfaced.

On Wednesday, January 25th, the Observer called the Lake City Police Department for a statement regarding the alleged charges against Capt. Blanchard.

In a conversation at 10:19 am, Police Chief Gilmore's executive assistant, Destiny Hill, speaking for the LCPD said, "What is out there is out there and we are not making any comments on any ongoing investigations. That is our policy."

At 10:23 am, the Observer left a message for Captain Blanchard on his cell phone asking for a comment regarding the alleged charges. Capt. Blanchard did not return the call.

At 4 pm, after requesting anonymity, a high-ranking city official spoke with the Observer. This official told the Observer, "FDLE investigated the incident. Chief Gilmore knew about it on the 11th of January. City Manager Johnson called Captain Blanchard into his office and asked him to resign. Capt. Blanchard refused. The City Manager then put Captain Blanchard on administrative leave."

The Observer has learned that the alleged incident regarding Captain Blanchard spanned over many years and appears to have involved over $150,000 in real money and an amount of real-estate.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigated and said there was no crime. It is a civil matter.

It was reported to the Observer that it appears that the interaction between Officer Blanchard and the other party began when he was on duty. The family is very upset. The woman directly involved is over 80 years old.

Upon learning of the results of the FDLE investigation, City Manager Wendell Johnson called Capt. Blanchard into his office and asked for his resignation. Captain Blanchard refused and was put on administrative leave by the City Manager.

It was reported to the Observer that legendary attorney, Herbert Darby, Lake City's City Attorney for the past 58 years and the longest sitting city attorney in the history of the planet earth, appears to believe a crime was committed. He is looking into it.


It is important to remember that in America, Police Captain John Blanchard, if he indeed committed any crime, is innocent until proven guilty.

Florida and Columbia County's inability to root out and punish public corruption is legendary and borne out by the fact that year after year Florida leads the nation in federal indictments for crimes involving public officials and public corruption.

Florida's perennial inability to establish an Office of Public Corruption feeds the notion that in Florida, if you do the crime and you are a public official – it is just plain bad luck if you do the time.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, FDLE, is a joke for those in the know and whose motto should be, "We've never seen a public official we wanted to see indicted."

Many police veterans, the ones that take the public trust seriously, have told the Observer, "The public has no idea how bad FDLE really is."

Probably they do.

For Captain John Blanchard, Lake City, the family of the alleged victim and all those involved in the Blanchard Affair, the perception of FDLE of being barely more than a paper tiger is not a good thing.

This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

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