Expert: Palm Beach Gardens police didn't follow its own policy

Expert: Palm Beach Gardens police didn't follow its own policy

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Should the plain clothes Palm Beach Gardens police officer who shot Corey Jones have even been allowed to be working undercover surveillance that night?

According to the city's own policy, one expert says the answer is no.

"It is highly unusual to take an officer on probation and put them in a skilled position like plain clothes or surveillance type operations," police expert Chuck Drago said.

Drago is the former Assistant Police Chief of Fort Lauderdale Police.

He looked over Palm Beach Gardens police policies.

One specific sentence says: "The agencies tactical crime suppression unit and/or detectives will conduct surveillance activities when required."

Officer Nouman Raja was with the department for less than a year and still technically within his probationary period.

He was not a detective.

"Typically you don't put a new officer, an officer who is still on probation, on those type of assignments because they require a great deal of experience, training, and skill in order to be able to accomplish them successfully," Drago said.

Palm Beach Gardens Councilman Joseph Russo said he isn't familiar with all the police policies, but he did say the city manager and police chief are reviewing them.

"I don't think there is a more important priority in our city. Our city was impacted by an event last week that has changed us all," Russo said.

Russo said he is expecting an update on the policy review from the city manager at the next city council meeting.

He says he is determined to make changes because of what happened to Corey Jones.

"I can't bring Corey Jones back. So our focus has to be on making sure it doesn't happen again," Russo said.

A spokeswoman with Palm Beach Gardens would not answer specific questions, but did issue this statement to FOX 29: "The City will be conducting its own internal affairs investigation related to this incident. However, we are not able to begin our investigation until PBSO, the FBI and the State Attorney's Office complete their investigations."

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