Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office

I have a lot of respect for police officers. I was raised by one, after all. Law enforcement is a noble profession and one worthy of at least a degree of respect.

That being said, there are few things I hate more than a corrupt cop. That’s the only way to describe someone who plants evidence on numerous people to make arrests.

Now, a deputy who did just that is facing a century in prison.

A former North Florida Sheriff’s Deputy was arrested and charged with planting illegal drugs on unsuspecting motorists on Wednesday.

The strongest evidence in the case is the Deputy’s own body camera footage.

In February 2018 Deputy Zachary Wester pulled over Teresa Odom.

He said her brake lights didn’t work. He then asked if Odom would consent to a search of her vehicle.

The Deputy’s body cam video showed a white substance in his hand as he prepared to search. The drugs ended up in Odom’s purse, before he arrested her despite her cries that the drugs didn’t belong to her.

Months later prosecutors discovered the video. Wester was suspended then fired.

119 cases in Jackson County were dismissed soon after.

If convicted on all counts, the fired Deputy faces more than 100 years in prison.

When he was arrested, the deputy was allegedly found with drug paraphernalia on his person.

The problem here is that at least 30 people have come forward, arguing that Wester did the same thing to them. People spent time in jail, time on probation, lost their gun rights, lost their families, and endured many other things, all because Wester pulled this crap.

Why did Wester allegedly do this? The article doesn’t say. My guess is that making a lot of drug arrests made him look like a super cop, or he simply took pleasure in ruining the lives of innocent people.

Regardless, this is a serious issue. Not only does it negatively impact law-abiding citizens, but makes the entire law enforcement profession look bad. Hell, it affects the public at large.

Now, it’s up to the courts to throw the book at him (if convicted, that is), and it seriously needs to. This is a golden opportunity to remind the public that police officers should be held to a higher standard. I’d love for him to get 100 years in prison following a conviction. I’d love for him to never taste free air again. Stuff like this? Framing innocent people? It needs to end.

Wester’s sentence could well serve as a warning to any other officers willing to cross that line, a way to let them know that if they do something like this, there’s hell to pay.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure that will happen. It sure seems like a lot of corrupt cops are getting let off on things they definitely shouldn’t have. It’s nothing new, mind you, but it’s never a good thing.

If we can’t trust the police, then who in the world are we supposed to trust?