Capt. Larry Easton, who as the head of the Internal Affairs unit is a key member of Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw‘s administration, is retiring at the end of the month.
Easton, 53, was rumored to have had a disagreement with Bradshaw over the handling of the recent scandal that engulfed the agency’s SWAT team. The two were also at odds in last year’s decision not to discipline a deputy who allegedly was drunk when she crashed her boat and lost an arm.
PBSO’s second-in-command, Chief Deputy Sheriff Michael Gauger, and several other insiders said Easton was offered a full time gig in the private sector, and his sudden decision isn’t so sudden. And, Gauger added, his retirement has nothing to do with the arrest of former SWAT Commander Dan Burrows for allegedly stealing a prized rifle and drugs from a dying ex-subordinate or any other disagreement.
“Larry has been with us for 29 years and did his job well,” Gauger said. “For a while, Larry has had a side job with a computer company specialized in police services. That company offered him a full time job.”
This much is sure: Easton is the guy with all the skeletons!
For the past three years, he found himself in the thankless position of sorting out major PBSO scandals. They included allegations that one of PBSO’s up-and-comer, former Lt. Paula Kronsperger, conducted sexual affairs with underlings and subordinates; the beating of an off-duty deputy by his sergeant during a hunting trip; the double demotion of former Capt. Ann Burke for alleged conduct unbecoming at the FBI Academy; and a deputy’s 18-mile chase on the turnpike with state troopers.
Easton, who’s media shy and didn’t respond to a request for an interview, is known to be a by-the-book guy with an aversion to “rocking the boat.” Easton, however, made it known he wasn’t happy with the handling of the Burrows scandal.
It took Bradshaw’s administration more than a month — until news of the scandal first appeared on Gossip Extra – to launch a criminal investigation into complaints that Burrows, one of PBSO’s union reps, stole oxycodone pills and a prized rifle from cancer-stricken ex-Deputy Mike Collister.
Last year, Easton wanted to discipline Deputy Cheryl Griffin for the boating accident in which she lost her arm because she was legally drunk. Bradshaw overruled him saying Griffin’s injuries were punishment enough.