TAMPA, Fla. — A detective with the Tampa Police Department has been arrested and charged with two felonies.
According to Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan, 38-year-old Jarda Bradford is accused of tampering with evidence in an attempted murder case she was investigating.
“The cover-up is worse than the crime itself and we can not have police officers who tamper with evidence, no matter what the motive is,” Dugan said, Tuesday at police headquarters.
Bradford is a 10-year veteran with the department.
According to Dugan, Bradford failed to cover-up a suspect’s earrings in a photo lineup, as required by the department’s policy.
“She then goes into the system and blackouts the earrings and places it into evidence,” Dugan said.
Bradford is also accused of forging a witness’ signature after failing to get that witness to sign the photo lineup.
Dugan said fellow detectives spotted the wrongdoing and stepped forward.
“We as law enforcement want the community that we serve to trust us, they have to know that when we find cops who do wrong, that we’re going to hold them accountable,” Dugan said.
Bradford is charged with two counts of tampering with evidence and has been suspended without pay.
Dugan said Bradford will be fired for her actions.
“It doesn’t matter who it is, whether she’s wearing a badge or not, you can’t tamper with evidence, you can’t obstruct justice and it’s our job to charge people with those crimes to hold them accountable,” said State Attorney Andrew Warren.
Officials say Jarda Bradford was terminated from employment with the Tampa Police Department due to her arrest on felony tampering with evidence charges. The termination became effective Friday, January 08, 2021.
The findings of the internal investigation determined Bradford violated the departmental and City of Tampa policies and procedures listed below:
Tampa Police Manual of Regulations 1005: Standard of Conduct; Tampa Police Manual of Regulations 1107.02: Truthfulness in Departmental
Matters; Tampa Police Manual of Regulations 1807: Failure to Comply with Departmental Policies; to wit: Standard Operating Procedure 819 - Guidelines for Eyewitness Identification and Photo Line-Up; Tampa Police Manual of Regulations 1202.02: Incompetence; City of Tampa Personnel Manual B28.2A(3)d(1): Moral Turpitude; and City of Tampa Personnel Manual B28.2A(3)(a)1: Incompetence.