POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A Lakeland police officer has been accused of making a false report of child abuse with the Department of Children and Families (DCF), saying his son had scratches on his back and a puncture wound in his hand.
- William Long allegedly claimed his son was abused by babysitter
- When confronted, the officer said he had no concerns, authorities say
- He is facing a third-degree felony charge; turned himself into county jail
- RELATED: Pinellas Child Protection Investigator Charged with Filing False Reports
The police department first received the complaint about officer William Long in May of 2019 related to an on-going child custody issue.
On May 20, Long allegedly contacted the DCF's Child Abuse Hotline to report child abuse and neglect against a babysitter who would watch over his son, stated an arrest affidavit, which added that the babysitter was used by the child's mother.
He reportedly stated that he saw "unexplained scratches on the child's back and a puncture wound on his hand," according to a police affidavit.
He allegedly used his cell phone to make the call, stating he wanted to be anonymous and did not report his name or that he is a police officer, which is required by state law, the affidavit stated.
On May 21, a DCF investigator went to the babysitter's home and after speaking with the babysitter and child, the investigator determined there was no evidence of child abuse, according to the affidavit.
Using the phone number that was used to make the phone call to DCF, the investigator called Long and then met with the officer, who allegedly changed his story, stated the affidavit.
"Officer Long told the investigator at that time that he had no concerns about the child's welfare while the child was in the care of the babysitter," reported the affidavit.
Long is now on paid administrative leave and faces a third-degree felony charge of making a false report of child abuse, stated the affidavit.
His current annual salary is $70,898.
Long turned himself in at the Polk County Jail.