According to a report from WFLA, an on-duty Florida cop showed up “too drunk to even walk” at a M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) conference, last summer.
Officer Michael Szeliga of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department was scheduled to receive an award for making over 100 DUI arrests, but he appeared to be highly intoxicated and was making disrespectful comments regarding his police chief in front of 200 invited guests.
“It was wrong, and again, one of the most ridiculous things I’ve heard of,” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said. “When I first heard about it, that was (what) my reaction was. ‘Come on, you’ve got to be kidding me. Really?’”
It is assumed Szeliga drove himself to the award ceremony while intoxicated, however he denies the allegation and insists he only had “one or two” drinks before the event. He was traveling with two other deputies at the time who, ironically, were there for a two-day DUI law enforcement training seminar.
Police said Szeliga packed a bottle of Jameson Irish whiskey, along with his luggage, in his sheriff’s patrol car before driving to the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Hotel in Fort Lauderdal. When Szeliga approached the banquet hall, his supervisor told him it was inappropriate to attend the affair due to the level of his intoxication and asked Szeliga to return back to his hotel room – that’s when the “disrespectful” comments were made.
Szeliga was reprimanded and given a one day paid suspension for the incident last month, and was ordered to write an apology letter to his police chief. He currently works as a detective in the sheriff’s crimes against children unit and has declined to comment regarding last summer’s spectacle.
Watch WFLA’s report on the story below: