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Palm Beach County Fire Rescue voting for union president

Posted at 5:48 PM, Feb 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-19 19:22:41-05

On Tuesday, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue employees began voting for a new union president.

One of the candidates is Captain AJ O'Laughlin. A letter has been circulating among members of Local 2928 about O'Laughlin.

In November 2017, Captain O'Laughlin was arrested for refusing to submit to a blood alcohol test.

He later pleaded guilty to reckless driving.

During his arrest, O'Laughlin was seen on body camera video slurring his words, swearing at officers, and begging them to arrest him.

He was also captured on video using the floor of a holding cell as a bathroom and falling off a bench.

Contact 5 reached out to O'Laughlin to ask why firefighters should vote for him despite the prior arrest.

"Everyday I wake up, I regret what I’ve done, what I’ve gone through and I don’t want any other firefighters to suffer from anything like that," says O'Laughlin. "The way I feel about it, is I give 100 percent in and I love my firefighters."

O'Laughlin has been a firefighter for more than 25 years.

"If somebody is going to judge me for one bad day, I apologize. And I continue to apologize everyday. And the way I feel about it, I wake up every morning saying I’m going to be a better person than I was yesterday," said O'Laughlin.

O'Laughlin was suspended from fire rescue for the 2017 arrest.

Contact 5 found he was also investigated in 2011 for allegedly making threats to another fire rescue employee in 2011.

That internal investigation was unfounded.

O'Laughlin is running against the current union president.

Voting continues through Wednesday night.