Former Hillsborough detective arrested, faces misconduct and evidence-tampering charges

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A former Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office detective has been arrested after authorities say he committed misconduct and tampered with evidence before his resignation last year.

Dalton Lewis, 32, resigned Aug. 27, 2021, after working for the Sheriff’s Office since 2016, the agency said in a news release. He was assigned to the criminal investigations division.

At some point after his resignation, it was discovered that Lewis had attempted to hide the number of incomplete cases he had at the time of his departure by either assigning his open cases to an employee who was retired or removing his status as the case’s lead investigator, the Sheriff’s Office said.

An internal search of his user activity confirmed Lewis had altered the lead investigator status of 36 of his open cases, according to the release. After the discovery, those cases all were reassigned to other detectives.

The Sheriff’s Office said Lewis’ motive is unknown. The release did not say how the agency came to discover the case assignment changes.

Pasco deputies arrested Lewis at his home Monday, according to the release. He was taken to a Pasco County jail and booked before being released on bond, according to Pasco Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Amanda Hunter.

Lewis is facing 72 counts of unlawfully withholding or detaining records from a successor by a public officer or employee and one count of tampering with physical evidence, Hillsborough authorities say.

“Intentionally concealing cases involving victims seeking justice is a clear break of the oath he once took to protect and serve the Hillsborough County community,” Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a written statement. “This once trusted public servant spent his final hours trying to hide his unfinished business. Thankfully, the only harm he caused was to himself, and now, he will face the consequences for attempting to conceal those incomplete cases from the same people he once considered his peers. Let this be an example that nobody, including the men and women of law enforcement, is above the law.”