FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Erik Knutsen has seen his career come to a bumping, grinding conclusion. The BSO lawman has been fired after investigators say he spent hours, in uniform, on duty, hanging out in Pompano Beach strip joints.
Knutsen, who had been on the force not quite five years, became the focus of an investigation four months ago after the department received an anonymous complaint that he was frequenting the Cheetah III strip club and the nearby Booby Trap cabaret while on duty.
Investigators secreted a GPS tracking device on Knutsen’s squad car. They determined that over a period of five work weeks, Knutsen spent five to ten hours a week, on the clock, at one or both of the clubs.
Additionally, investigators determined that Knutsen reported having responded to calls for service when he was actually hanging at the clubs.
According to an investigative report provided to CBS4 News, one witness claimed to have seen Knutsen cavorting in his squad car with a stripper at one of the flesh palaces. The report quotes the witness as saying “sexual activity was taking place.”
Investigators were unable to prove that allegation.
The BSO internal affairs report says Knutsen admitted being at the clubs on duty, visiting friends. He also admitted lying about responding to calls when he was, in fact, at the strip joints.
“It’s just shameful,” said Broward Sheriffs Office spokesperson Jim Leljedal. “It’s more than just a dereliction of duty, it could have been serious in terms of him not being available, not being there to back someone up, when he was telling dispatchers that he was there.”
The department quotes Knutsen as telling investigators, “I’m not a bad person, I just sometimes do dumb things.”
When CBS4′s Gary Nelson knocked on the fired deputy’s door Tuesday, the man who answered quickly shut the door and declined to respond to questions.
Knutsen remains a certified police officer, but Leljedal said the offense of “untruthfulness” about responding to calls when he was instead “goofing off” will probably be a career ender.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s standards board, given the bare facts of the case, will almost certainly strip the disgraced deputy of his law enforcement certificate.