Local domestic violence programs respond to Governor’s investigation into FCADV

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)–When it comes to domestic violence, trust in your local law enforcement and state agencies is crucial. But on Wednesday, Governor Ron DeSantis ordered the Chief Inspector General to conduct a thorough review of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

The FCADV is an organization many victims and agencies here in the Panhandle depend on. But now, the Governor says the agency may be abusing their power.

The FCADV works with organizations across the state to provide resources to victims of domestic violence.

On Wednesday, they handed over documents to the state after being accused of abusing state dollars and committing fraudulent activity.

The FCADV works closely with both the Salvation Army of Panama City and the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.

“So our relationship with FCADV is they monitor us and we report to them our monthly activities,” said Koren Colbert, a Lieutenant with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division.

The coalition sponsors one of the Sheriff’s Office domestic violence program, “INVEST”.

But Colbert says it’s business as usual. The latest allegations won’t change the work they do on a local level.

The issues the Governor points out has to do with the higher-up level of FCADV rather than the employees the Sheriff’s Office reports to.

“If it changes in the interim, we may just have a different entity that may be overseeing the money more appropriately,” Colbert said.

The Salvation Army of Panama City also receives assistance from the coalition and they say the FCADV is their largest sponsor for their domestic violence program.

But they also say they are conducting business as usual.

“Our headquarters in Tampa is well aware of the situation and we’re ready to take steps to get ready to have our program open in case something were to happen and funding were to fall through,” said Major Ed Binnix with the Salvation Army.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis also released a statement in support of the Governor’s push for an investigation. He says the Department of Financial Services is ready to assist with whatever is needed.

If anyone in the Bay County area is in need of resources for domestic violence, you can contact the Bay County Sheriff’s Office. To learn more, visit http://bayso.org/victim-advocate .

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