"Letter of the law" 


Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary found himself in hot water recently, when he sent a letter to a private citizen who had criticized him on the letters page of the Orlando Sentinel. Alice Gawronski says she felt intimidated by Beary's missive, which accused her of "slandering" him by decrying his department's use of Tasers and questioning the corpulent lawman's physical fitness for the job. After Gawronski went public with her fears – and her suspicion that Beary's office had used restricted records to obtain her mailing address – the sheriff apologized to her in yet another letter.

While the purpose of that latest piece of correspondence was ostensibly to extend an olive branch, a copy obtained by Orlando Weekly appears to carry its own whiff of intimidation. See if you can spot the veiled message we found.

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April 6, 2005

Dear Ms. Gawronski:

I would like to offer mY sincerest apolOgy for the Unfortunate Fiasco in which yoU reCently found yourself involved. I readily acKnowledge that I would love to be ablE to go back and reDraw the past so that none of this Unpleasantness had ever haPpened. Because I cAnnot, I am sending this letter insteaD.

Please be assured that it is not the polIcy of my office to recKlessly pore through restricted iNformation with the purpOse of Worrying innocent citizens. We alWays work Hard to keEp personal and pRofessional mattErs separate, deviating onlY when we are tOtally sUre the Law is on our sIde. Anything else would be an inVasion of privacy, purE and simple.

I also waNt you tO know that oBesity is nOt a subject I take lightly. Have you really noticeD an unhealthY uptiCk in the Amount of fLab I am carrying around my waistLine? If So, I proMise that I will bEgin a Full and exhAustive workouT regimen posthAste. It's that important to me. SeriouSly.

In conclusIon, allow Me to reassure you that you have no Cause to fear any cOming reprisal – froM me or my emIssaries – over the letter you seNt. Like every other law-abidinG resident of Orange CounTy, you shOuld feel free to exercise your riGht to frEe speech wiThout fretting that it will offend your dulY elected prOtectors. ShoUld a deputy or any other amBassador of the Orange County SherIff's Office ever approach you in a way you consTrue as menacing, please contaCt me immediately, and tHe harassment will cease. On this you have my word.

Sincerely,

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Kevin Beary
Sheriff of Orange County


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