Homeless Camp Sweeps, Crime Statistics, Criminal Investigations; GPD Gives Quarterly Update

Homeless Camp Sweeps, Crime Statistics, Criminal Investigations; GPD Gives Quarterly Update
A Slide from the quarterly update showing the phone numbers of a GPD captain, two lieutenants, and multiple shift commanders

On Thursday May 2, the Gainesville Police Department (GPD) presented their quarterly update to the Gainesville City Commission for January 1, 2024 through March 31, 2024. 

The meeting began with a presentation by gun-violence intervention program manager Brittney Coleman on GPD’s gun-violence prevention initiative. 

Coleman began with a story: “I was able to meet with a mother with two young children out East at Depot Park. One of the things she told me, she said, ‘Ms. Brittney, I’m tired of talk.’ I said ‘Yes ma’am.’ She began to tell me some things she wanted to hold me accountable to, and I think these are the things you’re gonna see as we move through this presentation. She wants to hold me accountable for one, doing the work. . . . to centering people in the community, and also doing that with love. As we all move forward, I hope you all can hold me accountable to that.”


Brittney Coleman speaks on gun violence prevention before the quarterly update

She went on to announce Impact GNV. Coleman called it “the framework we’re gonna use to establish innovative programs and targeted strategies to fight gun violence.” Impact GNV combines multiple programs and initiatives such as Brave Overt Leaders of Distinction (BOLD), Violence Interrupter Partners (VIP), and Community Care Callouts (CCC), consolidating them into a unified approach.

The meeting moved on to hear from Alachua County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) Sheriff Emery Gainey. He said, “Let’s talk a little bit about what we’ve been doing quietly. Behind the scenes, myself, [Interim] Chief [Nelson] Moya of GPD, our state, [and] federal partners formed a task force to quietly start going after some of the individuals [committing gun violence.] We’re going to release that data later today.”

The data was released on ACSO and GPD’s Facebook pages. Moya confirmed that the City of Gainesville has had “54 confirmed shootings since the start of the year,” indicating there have been nine shootings in Gainesville since April based on the number of shots fired from Jan-Mar 2024.


Announcement from GPD and ACSO (originally posted on their Facebook accounts.)

After the gun-violence prevention initiative presentation, Moya gave the quarterly update. He said GPD’s mission is dealing with “violent crime, traffic safety, homeless outreach, and recruiting police officers.” He said GPD is understaffed with “47 vacancies of sworn staff.” 

He then addressed GPD crime statistics, clarifying that the number of homicides has increased from five to seven since the data was created. “I always like to present the most current information. Five as of that date but seven [now],” he said.

The commissioners heard from District 2 GPD Captain Victoria Young. She said that GPD has dealt with “Quality of life issues." She said, "There’s a plot of private land on 1200 Northeast Waldo, and we are continuing to work with that property owner. As recently as yesterday we went out with a contractor because they had individuals [who had moved onto the property.] Even though the previous individuals there have been trespassed and/or arrested, because of the length of time [before] the property owner was able to get a contractor out, we had additional individuals who had moved onto the property who again had to be removed. They are clearing that as we speak now to make that area a little more accessible and a little more visually pleasing.”


Captain Victoria Young speaks on sweep of homeless camps

This comes a month and a half after Moya said GPD was continuing to work with their partners to “improve safety for our houseless neighbors through community outreach” He said this following an incident in which a homeless woman was attacked by GPD K-9 and hospitalized.

Captain Paris Owens of criminal investigations discussed the crimes committed by Christopher Chell and Ryan Clemens at the Catholic school St. Patrick Interparish. She said that parents of several students at the school had come forward and divulged that their children had been inappropriately touched by P. E. teacher Chell. Assistant Principal Clemens was notified about what was going on and chose to not report appropriately.

Owens said, “We are continuing to get folks that are coming forward to advise that their children have been victimized by Mr. Chell. This investigation continues, and, hopefully, [since we are] putting the information out there. . . . Hopefully, people will continue to come forward so we can bring some resolution to these families.”

Information on Chell and Clemens on a slide at the quarterly update

GPD has asked anyone with information regarding the crimes committed at St. Patrick Interparish School to contact Sgt. Pandak at (352) 393-7734. 

The coverup of child sexual abuse at St Patrick Interparish School reflects the child sexual abuse coverups at the Assemblies of God Pentecostal church Ignite Life Center. It was not publicly addressed in the quarterly update whether GPD is conducting similar investigations into senior pastor Mark Vega and his congregation at Ignite Life Center. 

Traffic Unit Sergeant Lynn Valdez presented the traffic statistics, stating that the number had said seven on the data chart but increased to eight due to confirmation from a medical examiner that somebody who was in a traffic accident in January had succumbed to their injuries.

Lieutenant Brown of the Personnel Services Division reported that GPD has been putting a big focus on recruiting more officers. She said that in order to promote outreach to potential employees they have been going to career fairs in colleges around the North Central Florida region. Brown said, “We are looking for the best candidates for the Gainesville Police Department to serve this community.” 

After Brown said potential hires are often turned down due to failing lie detector tests, Commissioner Reina Saco commented, “Even though we have vacancies, we’re not going to hand a gun to just anybody who walks off the street. We have standards, and I’m glad we have standards.”


Commissioner Reina Saco and Lieutenant Brown discuss GPD's hiring process

Last February Emma Spaulding was announced as the 2023 GPD officer of the year despite her allowing a colleague to sexually assault three citizens at Coconut Cabaret. All the officers involved are still employed by GPD. 

In addition, GPD still employs Officer Andrew Milman despite his inappropriate comments after Terrell Bradley’s maiming by a K-9 in 2022, and his recent unlawful arrest at the start of this year.

No general-order violations by GPD officers or any justice for GPD’s crimes against citizens were acknowledged during the quarterly update by either officers or commissioners. 

Moya concluded the quarterly update by acknowledging Emma Spaulding as Officer of the Year and announcing the names of recent officers of the month. 

A slide at the quarterly update acknowledging Emma Spaulding as the GPD Officer of the Year

Nelson Moya presents GPD Officers who were deemed worthy of accolades

Jack Walden

Jack Walden

Jack Walden is the creator of Gnvinfo and a 2nd year journalism major at Santa Fe College. From general information, to exposing falsehoods and corruption, Jack seeks to deliver the truth.
Gainesville, FL
Katy Meigs

Katy Meigs

Katy Meigs is working with GNVInfo part time after a thirty-year career as a copy editor and writer for publications ranging from the Santa Barbara Independent to Cornell University Press.