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Dallas County sheriff’s deputy fired, 14 others disciplined for working at strip clubs

Dallas- from www.dallasnews.com – A Dallas County sheriff’s deputy has been fired, and 14 others have been disciplined for unauthorized off-duty work at strip clubs, the department said.

The Sheriff’s Department prohibits off-duty work at adult-oriented businesses. Deputies are allowed to work off-duty jobs as long as their supervisors approve their “application for special duty” cards, which contain information about the employer and the nature of the work.

The 15 deputies did not get approval to work security jobs in uniform at two topless bars on Northwest Highway – Club Onyx and the Dallas Gentlemen’s Club, the Sheriff’s Department said.

The discipline follows an internal investigation that lasted at least four months.

Deputy Anthony Kelly was fired last week following his disciplinary hearing. The 15-year employee has been disciplined before.

In 2001, he received a one-day suspension for failing to report for duty and for not reporting a phone number change. He was demoted in 2003 for being untruthful and was later reinstated. And in 2005 he was barred from off-duty work for a year for failing to fill out the proper paperwork for a job.

The similar prior violation factored into the decision to fire Kelly, according to the department. Kelly was caught by supervisors working at Club Onyx.

“We take these violations very seriously,” Sheriff Lupe Valdez said in a written statement. “Our deputies are held to the highest standards and must conduct themselves in a way that exemplifies honesty, integrity and ethical behavior.”

Deputy John Robinson, a 13-year employee, was suspended for 30 days – the longest suspension – and barred from working off-duty jobs for a year.

Robinson worked at Club Onyx for a year and also was spotted in uniform at the business by supervisors. The department said Robinson recruited other officers and “coordinated their work.”

Deputy Lawrence Strange, hired in 2002, was demoted to a jail-guard position. He admitted that he also coordinated the jobs and recruited officers, the department said. Strange also gave the other officers their money, according to the department.

Strange worked three or four days per week at the Dallas Gentlemen’s Club for three years, according to the department.

Eleven other male deputies received suspensions of one to eight days. One deputy received a written reprimand. In addition, the officers were each banned from off-duty work for several months to a year.

The discipline was handed down based on the level of the deputies’ participation in the off-duty jobs as well as their previous disciplinary history, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said.

At least some of the deputies are members of the Dallas County Peace Officers Association, a labor group. Charles Bailey, the association’s first vice president, said he believes the punishment was fair.

Three of the deputies were hired in 2006. Eight have worked for the Sheriff’s Department since the 1980s and ’90s.

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