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Records reveal officers under investigation have good performance reviews

By Staff | Sep 19, 2009

Records indicate that two Cape Coral officers who are the subject of a federal investigation have excelled in their duties with the Cape Coral Police Department.
The U.S. Secret Service and Cape Coral Police Department are conducting a joint investigation involving Sgt. James O’Brien and Detective Steve Petrovich, the son of Police Chief Rob Petrovich. The two have been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation.
No charges have been filed.
Cape Coral Police Department officials have declined to speak on the nature of the investigation, citing regulations preventing their comment.
According to his personnel file, O’Brien became a sergeant with the Special Operations Unit in 2006, and maintained excellent or good markings throughout his career.
O’Brien has worked with the Cape Coral Police Department for 10 years and makes an annual salary of $68,244.
Regarding O’Brien’s leadership ability, a superior officer wrote that O’Brien “shows dynamic leadership qualities, he also exhibits confidence and assurance.”
The superior said of O’Brien that he “doesn’t shy away from making difficult decisions both administratively and in street situations. Sgt. O’Brien will evaluate his choices before deciding a course of action.”
O’Brien is experienced as a member of the SWAT Team, Mounted Patrol and Honor Guard, records show.
One citizen, whose house was burglarized and whose car was stolen on Christmas, commended the efforts of O’Brien and several others in apprehending those responsible.
“Because of this, two suspects were arrested and about one third of our property was recovered as well as our car,” the citizen wrote. “It is very comforting to know that the Cape Coral Police Department were there for us in our time of need.”
Petrovich, a detective with the Property and Financial Crimes section, has worked with the department for 11 years and makes an annual salary of $64,084.
Petrovich has worked as a representative of the Department to the State Attorney’s Office and also as a sergeant with the Vice Intelligence and Narcotics Unit, among other assignments.
In 2005 a superior remarked that Petrovich was “the glue that has held the VIN Unit together.”
In his personnel file, Petrovich was referred to as reliable, showing a strong interest in professional development and innovative when working with limited resources.
Petrovich also has mostly good and excellent ratings throughout his career with CCPD.
Records show that in 2002, Petrovich searched a truck which he had stopped due to an equipment violation, and issued the driver a warning. However, upon searching the truck Petrovich discovered hundreds of pornographic pictures of children, along with 22 computer disks and a number of pornographic magazines which were seized. The driver was subsequently arrested.
A superior nominated Petrovich for officer of the month, stating “…a possibly dangerous suspect… was removed from the streets making the city of Cape Coral a safer place for families to live.”
Both O’Brien and Petrovich are members of the Lodge 33 Fraternal Order of Police. However, since the nature of the investigation is not duty-related, the FOP cannot legally represent the officers, said the organization’s president, Kurtis Grau.
“We will continue to provide emotional support to these officers and their families throughout this process,” Grau said earlier this week.
Petrovich, O’Brien and his wife Lea are vice president, president and secretary, respectively, of a company called Tactical Protection & Investigation, Inc. According to the company’s Web site, they offer courses for concealed weapons permits.