Official PPD statement on Officer Ard

Press Release:

A Pensacola Police officer has been suspended for 80 hours without pay after an internal review determined he violated department policies.

On Oct. 3, 2009, Officer Jerald Ard tried to stop teen-aged bicyclist Victor D. Steen for questioning, which led to a short pursuit and Steen’s subsequent death.

Pensacola Police Chief John W. Mathis made the decision today after an internal review of the circumstances leading to the death of Steen, 17, of Pensacola.

“There is no way I can adequately express our sadness for the death of this young man. This is a very sad and tragic event,” Mathis said. “Unfortunately, it is one that the Steen family and Officer Ard will have to live with the rest of their lives.”

Ard, 36, who has been assigned to desk duty since October, will return to patrol duty after the suspension.

Because of pending litigation, the Pensacola Police Department will have no further comments on this issue.