Diane Hobley-Burney: Commissioners praise police chiefs progress following Demarcus Semer shooting

Posted at 12:18 AM, Nov 22, 2016

FORT PIERCE, Fla. -- Fort Pierce City Commissioners praised Fort Pierce Police Chief Diane Hobley- Burney Monday night for her progress improving various aspects of the police department following the Demarcus Semer shooting.


Monday night, Hobley-Burney gave commissioners a status update on the department and an update on the internal investigation into the two officers involved in the shooting.


Many of the improvements she has made fulfill requests from members of the community.


Since the shooting, Hobley-Burney has selected 100 body cameras she wants the city to purchase for all of her officers to wear. The officers would be required to turn the cameras on during every citizen interaction. They would also turn on automatically if a gun is pulled out of its holster. They would also record the 30-seconds prior to the gun being drawn.


She says she has put new policies into place for using dash cameras, including having regular inspections to make sure they are properly working. 


A grand jury that cleared the two officers of any criminal wrongdoing recommended the officers receive more training.


Hobley-Burney says multiple new training opportunities are being implemented. Some of them include more cultural sensitivity training, scenario based training and use of force training.


She says her agency has been doing more teen and community outreach.


The Department of Justice is helping her work toward creating a citizens advisory board.


While commissioners praised her progress, Commissioner Reggie Sessions criticized Hobley-Burney for having an employee inside the police department leading the internal investigation into two officers involved in the Demarcus Semer shooting.


“If someone in the department is going to investigate the department, do you not find something wrong with that picture? Well, I do. And I was elected last month,” Semer said.


He was met by criticism by several people in the crowd.


City Manager Nick Mimms says Hobley-Burney is following proper protocol by having a Major with the police department lead the investigation. Other commissioners said the original investigation was handled by an outside party. This investigation, they say, focuses only on determining if policies were violated.


Hobley-Burney says the Major is reviewing more than 1400 documents, along with reviewing interviews, photos and videos.


There is still no deadline for when the investigation will be complete.