WELLINGTON, Fla. - 23 years of patrolling South Florida roads are now on hold for Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Robert Purser. The veteran lieutenant is on administrative duty pending a criminal investigation by the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office.
Law enforcement sources tell us the accusations against Purser revolve around off-duty work. The highway patrol confirmed the criminal investigation in an email.
"That's a misuse of public trust and obviously the position," says Andrew Scott. The former Boca Raton Police Chief is not involved in the case, but is offering insight.
Purser runs 208 enterprises of South Florida, a Wellington business offering law enforcement officers off-duty security jobs. Sources say Purser was organizing off-duty jobs for other officers while he was on-duty.
Scott says it's common for officers to work off-duty security at times, but says if the accusations are true, Purser is in the wrong.
"To have an agency member actively look or solicit businesses for off-duty work is not proper etiquette and it conflicts with the ethical conduct of the law enforcement officer and the policies of the department," says Scott.
Purser is not the only one under the microscope. Statewide at least four other troopers have been investigated for off-duty violations in the last year. Three were given written reprimands, one in Orlando - Capt. Steven Harris - was fired just three weeks ago.
Scott says if one of those officers uses force off-duty, the agency they work for could end up in a legal nightmare, with the public footing the bill.
"The taxpayer loses all the way around, nothing good can come from this relative to what the taxpayers expect and ultimately what they wind up paying for work that has nothing to do with law enforcement," says Scott.
Purser's security business is registered with the State of Florida, and has been around since 2009.
We tried to reach Purser at his Wellington home and on the phone, but haven't received a call back.