Chip DeBlock was born and raised in Tampa , Florida . He is 54 years old and worked with the Tampa Police Department (T.P.D.) for 30 years. Chip graduated from the University of South Florida (U.S.F.) in 1983 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice. While working at T.P.D. (1983 – 2013) he served in the following capacities:
- Uniform District Two – Uniform Patrol Officer
- Uniform District One – Uniform Patrol Officer
- Selective Enforcement Bureau (S.E.B.) – Plain Clothes & Uniform Special Events Officer
- Quick Uniform Attack on Drugs (Q.U.A.D. Squad) – Plain Clothes Officer & MPO
- Morals Unit (Narcotics/Vice Unit) – Undercover Detective
- Organized Crime Unit (C.I.B.) – Undercover Detective
- Wet Zoning (C.I.B.) – Plain Clothes Detective
- Missing Persons – Plain Clothes Detective
- Auto Theft – Plain Clothes Detective
- Domestic Violence – Plain Clothes Detective
- Kayla Data Entry (Sex Crimes) – Plain Clothes Detective
- Gun Unit – Plain Clothes Detective
- Legal Unit (Forfeiture) – Plain Clothes Detective
- Police Benevolent Association (P.B.A.) – Corporal On Full-time Release & Elected Position As Executive Secretary
After being promoted to detective and moving to the Criminal Intelligence Bureau (C.I.B.), Det. DeBlock began investigating Adult Use, Organized Crime and Public Corruption. He worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.), the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (F.D.L.E.) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office on corruption at the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office when Harry Lee Coe was State Attorney. During a sensitive public corruption investigation, Det. DeBlock found himself on the receiving end of political pressures. Due to his efforts to expose public corruption, the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office filed 21 allegations against Det. DeBlock in the Internal Affairs Bureau (I.A.B.) which eventually led to a criminal investigation against him. Detective DeBlock was removed from the Organized Crime Unit, placed on Administrative Duty and endured an active I.A.B. investigation for 19 months. In the end, however, Det. DeBlock was cleared of any wrongdoing in both the Internal Affair’s complaints and the criminal allegations thanks (in part) to his meticulous record keeping.
During the investigation against Det. DeBlock, the FDLE released their report of the investigation against State Attorney Harry Lee Coe. Harry Lee Coe committed suicide immediately prior to the release of this report.
After Det. DeBlock was cleared, his internal affairs package became public record and was made available to the media. During his defense, Det. DeBlock had produced an 89 page document detailing his innocence and outlining corruption at various levels of government including the State Attorney’s Office (SAO). Although this document was initially not provided by the City to the media because it came up “missing”, it was eventually produced. Upon its release to the media and a huge press following, new State Attorney Mark Ober told the news media that Det. DeBlock had no credibility. Ober refused to use Det. DeBlock’s testimony in court and former Police Chief Bennie Holder transferred DeBlock out of the elite C.I.B. unit. Detective DeBlock was assigned to handle missing person cases and no longer allowed to conduct criminal investigations.
In November of 2001 Det. DeBlock filed a state Whistleblower lawsuit, in circuit court, against the City of Tampa and former Police Chief Bennie Holder. Judge Marva L. Crenshaw ruled that Det. DeBlock was not entitled to punitive or compensatory type damages, that he may get his old job back and that he might be entitled to reimbursement of his legal fees. Due to this ruling, the Whistleblower lawsuit is no longer being pursued.
In May of 2003 Det. DeBlock filed a defamation of character lawsuit against current Hillsborough County State Attorney Mark Ober and the State Attorney’s Office. Judge James D. Arnold dismissed the lawsuit under the premise that Ober is immune from such lawsuits. The 2nd District Court of Appeal upheld Judge Arnold’s decision.
In early 2004, while investigating the disappearance of missing gay men including Jason Galehouse and Michael Wachholtz, Det. DeBlock located additional victims and identified Steven Lorenzo as a suspect in the drugging, abduction, kidnapping and rape of many of them. Although Det. DeBlock had enough probable cause to make an arrest, he drafted a search warrant for Lorenzo’s residence in order to obtain and preserve evidence of these crimes. Detective DeBlock also had reason to believe that additional evidence would be located linking Lorenzo with the disappearance and death of Galehouse and Wachholtz (Wachholtz’s body had already been discovered). After the SAO and the Statewide Prosecutor’s Office refused to review Det. DeBlock’s search warrant, the Tampa Police Department removed DeBlock from the case and abandoned all efforts to have a search warrant executed at Steven Lorenzo’s home. Detective DeBlock, in turn, contacted the DEA and supplied them with a copy of his search warrant. The Tampa Police Department responded by writing Det. DeBlock up for insubordination because he failed to follow orders. The DEA approached TPD with the search warrant they obtained from Det. DeBlock and issued a total of 4 search warrants at the home of Steven Lorenzo. These search warrants not only preserved evidence from the crimes Det. DeBlock had been investigating, but also uncovered new evidence that led to the arrest and successful prosecution of Steven Lorenzo and Scott Schweickert for crimes involving the drugging and murder of Jason Galehouse and Michael Wachholtz. The Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office refused to prosecute this case, so Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Porcelli stepped up to the plate and prosecuted this case in federal court. Lorenzo was sentenced to 200 years and Schweickert sentenced to 40 years in federal prison. Since federal statutes do not regulate murder (this is left to state statutes), Lorenzo and Wachholtz had to be tried and convicted for other related crimes. The SAO, to this day, has refused to prosecute these defendants for the crime of murder.