Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine's former bodyguard may have broken state and federal gun laws last month

Eric Kolbinsky. 
During last year's Miami Beach mayoral campaign, then candidate Philip Levine frequently attended campaign events with one or more personal bodyguards.

One of those bodyguards was retired DEA Special Agent Eric Kolbinsky. 

After Levine won the election, Kolbinsky was hired by the city at an annual salary of $65,015. According to a city spokesperson, Kolbinsky is "a City employee in a temporary position; emergency management specialist."

Late last month, Kolbinsky, and his boss, Miami Beach Emergency Management coordinator Chuck Tear, visited the Miami Beach Police Department's Public Safety Communications Unit (PSCU). The PSCU is more commonly known as the 911 call center.

Tear, a civilian employee with virtually no law enforcement experience, was put in charge of the PSCU by City Manager Jimmy Morales last January after pictures surfaced that appeared to show PSCU employees napping at their consoles.

Following Tear and Kolbinsky's weekend visit to the call center, Anthony Loperfido, one of the police officers on duty at the PSCU, sent the following email [embedded below] to his supervisor, Lt. David Hernandez.

In the email, Loperfido wrote "I noticed that [Kolbinsky] is armed with a semi-automatic firearm which is concealed under [an] untucked, long sleeve shirt."

Loperfido closed his email by expressing concern for the safety of the PSCU's employees, writing, "I am not comfortable with the situation and feel this is a safety issue for the personnel [that] work in the PSCU and the police station."

Click here to enlarge.

Sources are unclear on whether or not Kolbinsky has a state permit to carry a concealed weapon.

But as a retired federal law enforcement official, he's permitted to carry a concealed weapon under the provisions of H.R. 218, the Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act, that then president George W. Bush signed into law in 2004.

[H.R. 218, the “Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act” PDF file.]
"H.R. 218 exempts qualified active and retired law enforcement officers from local and State prohibitions on the carrying of concealed firearms."

However, the law's exemption is not total.
"In addition, State (not local) laws which prohibit the carriage of firearms onto State or local government property and State (not local) laws which allow private entities to prohibit firearms on their private property would still apply to qualified active and retired law enforcement officers."

The Florida State Statute on Concealed Weapons and Firearms [F.S.S. 790.06 (12)] clearly prohibits carrying a concealed weapon into a police station:
A license issued under this section does not authorize any person to openly carry a handgun or carry a concealed weapon or firearm into:

2. Any police, sheriff, or highway patrol station.

Additionally, the City of Miami Beach's policy on the Prevention of Workplace Violence prohibits employees from possessing... "a deadly weapon, firearm or destructive device in any manner, on one's person, in one's belongings, in any City facility or work area, including City vehicle, or in one's personal vehicle while engaged in City business."

But if Kolbinsky was a little hazy last March on the city's policy that prohibits guns at work, or Florida's concealed weapons law, all he had to do was stop for a minute and glance at the sign that's in plain view for all to see at the entrance to the police station.

Click image to enlarge.

Note: I've asked Miami Beach spokesperson Nannette Rodriquez for a comment from the City Manager's office on the incident at the police station. As soon as I hear back from her, I'll update this post.

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