A former major crimes investigator was named by the Florida Department of Corrections on Tuesday as a new assistant chief of investigations, based at Ocala’s Lowell Correctional Institution for women.
Russell N. Kern, a 25-year law enforcement veteran, will be stationed at Lowell, a stone’s throw from where he spent most of his career, as an officer with the Ocala Police Department, FDC spokesman McKinley Lewis said. Before retiring in July, Kern was a lieutenant whose tenure included supervising investigations, major crimes, forensics and special operations.
Kern, whose salary is $72,000 annually, is one of four assistant chiefs who work under the department’s inspector general. That office is responsible for investigating crime and other wrongdoing in the state prison system. Jeffery Beasley, the former inspector general, said in November that he was stepping aside. The announcement came amid criticism from some of his own investigators that he tried to sabotage their efforts to uncover corruption, crime, officer misconduct and inmate abuses in the state prison system. His replacement has not been named and he remains in place.
With Kern’s appointment, the department now has four assistant chiefs, each responsible for different regions. Previously there were two.
Kern will assume responsibility for the central region, which includes Lowell.