William Warmington, now ranked as an officer, was also moved to a traffic unit.
An Ormond Beach Police sergeant was demoted in rank to officer after an internal affairs investigation revealed he had been cultivating a relationship with a known criminal offender whom police were investigating for running a drug house.
Documents showed that Officer William Warmington and Jenna Rinehart first met in 2015 during a traffic stop where she was arrested. Warminton said they crossed paths again this past March during an overdose call at her home involving her late husband, who died a month later on April 19 by drug overdose. OBPD had been actively investigating Rinehart's Ormond Beach home as a drug house, and there were six documented patrols conducted on the street by Warmington's squad.
Rinehart and Warmington struck up a romantic relationship, texting back and forth for a couple of months, documents show. On one occasion, they rode to her daughter's softball game together on his motorcycle. On another, they walked to the beach and kissed.
The investigation documents detailed that Warmington, who had been promoted to sergeant in January 2017, violated three codes of conduct: a violation of OBPD rules, association with criminals and conduct unbecoming a member of the Police Department.
Rinehart has been arrested at least 20 times since 2008 on crimes regarding drug possession, prostitution, traffic offenses and uttering a forgery.
"Officer Warmington’s behavior does not reflect the values and standards of the Ormond Beach Police Department and through a settlement with his bargaining unit representatives and City staff, we have demoted him two ranks, from Sergeant to Officer," said Ormond Beach Police Chief Jesse Godfrey in a statement. "He was placed back on the traffic unit, where he was assigned prior to being promoted. We hope that Officer Warmington understands the implications of this demotion and that he will be closely monitored."
Though demoted in rank, Warmington will keep his current pay rate.
During the investigation, Warmington was asked if he thought it was "wise" to start a relationship with Rinehart. He said "he thought it was a good thing that he could contact someone in a problem area and communicate with them," according to documents, as "it puts you in a position to help someone.”
This wasn't the first time Warmington has received disciplinary action. In June 2017, he received a written reprimand for an at-fault crash. In May 2018, he received counseling for approving his own overtime without authorization. A few months later in August 2018, he was counseled again for sleeping while on duty.
In November 2018, he received another written reprimand for negligence involving adequate staffing levels. In May of this year, he was also suspended for 24 hours without pay for engaging in an unauthorized vehicle pursuit.