Officer had been fired before, records show - FOX 13 News

Officer had been fired before, records show

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

A Tampa Police officer fired amid allegations of getting drunk at a strip club while on duty had been fired before.

Officer Paul Madsen, who had been with the department for 23 years, was let go last week. He and another officer got caught drinking at The Penthouse for hours into their shift, according to the Tampa Police Department.

Madsen was also fired in 2003 after an altercation with a deputy. Records show Madsen called the deputy the n-word.

The police union helped him get his job back and it has already filed another grievance on his behalf this time around, too. The union submitted it to the city Tuesday.

This time, the union wants to help Madsen get benefits they say he's owed.

"TPD chose not to accept his resignation and they terminated him, so it's our position, from a grievance standpoint, that he resigned. And you can't terminate somebody who has already resigned," said Tampa Police Benevolent Association Attorney Owen Kohler, who also says Madsen's fellow officers would describe him as a good officer.

Chief Jane Castor spoke to the media about the firings Friday.

"We are a very-well respected department and this is an embarrassment to everyone who wears a uniform," Castor said.

Madsen's history of discipline goes back to the 1990s. It includes three crashes in his cruiser, asking fellow officers to interrogate someone he had personal problems with, leaving his weapon in his cruiser, and wearing his uniform while off-duty at a court hearing involving his girlfriend.

Kohler says the union has a legal obligation to its members and that often police officers are unjustly accused of bad behavior.

"By law, we are required to represent all of members fairly and equally and we are not going to deny representation based on a mere allegation," he said.

Once Madsen got his job back, trouble surfaced again in 2005 and 2006. He was accused of mouthing off to a sergeant. Also, records say Madsen failed to show up in a timely fashion to meet with a sex assault victim, resulting in critical evidence being lost.

His new termination letter says he tried to cover up his whereabouts at the strip club by saying he working in the field.

A series of hearings and possibly arbitration will determine the outcome of the union's most recent grievance on behalf of Madsen.

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