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Robert Purser, Wellington, Florida FHP Trooper, Under Investigation

Robert Purser, a Wellington, Florida-based Florida Highway Patrol Trooper, is currently under investigation for improper secondary business pursuits, sources say. Purser has not been arrested, but he has been placed on administrative duty as the investigation continues. Purser does not appear to have publicly commented on the investigation, and no defense lawyer has commented on his behalf.

According to press reports, Purser is a veteran of the FHP. He has reportedly worked for the department for 23 years and has attained the title of lieutenant. There is no indicated that he has ever been in trouble with the department before. He is now on administrative leave until the investigation has been resolved.

On the side, Purser reportedly owns a business called 208 Enterprises, which he registered with the county in 2009. There is nothing wrong with an officer holding a second job, but officials reportedly cite a conflict-of-interest with the nature of Purser’s secondary endeavor. Sources suggest that 208 Enterprises is an employment agency of sorts, specializing is getting law enforcement officers second jobs as security personnel.

“To have an agency member actively look or solicit businesses for off-duty work is not proper etiquette,” a former Boca Raton Police Chief reportedly told the press in light of the investigation. “It conflicts with the ethical conduct of the law enforcement officer and the policies of the department.” Reports indicate that if an officer working an off-duty job ended up getting into a fight or causing injury, the brunt of the cleanup work would fall on the police department.

It is not clear whether setting officers up with security jobs actually breaks any laws, but sources suggests that investigators believe Purser was running his business venture while on-duty. Such investigations are apparently a relatively common occurrence among local police departments. Captain Steven Harris of Orlando, Florida was recently fired for a similar offense, sources suggest.

Meanwhile, another official on the wrong side of the law has taken a plea deal. Jason Hersh of Fort Lauderdale, Florida just took a plea deal in relation to an incident that took place in 2009, press reports state. Hersh is facing charges of unlawful arrest and is currently on administrative leave.

Sources indicate that the altercation took place at 7-Eleven on Oakland Park Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. The victim in the incident, Lee Ferrell, was reportedly asked to leave the store because he had shoplifted in the past. Ferrell apparently didn’t immediately move, so Hersh allegedly grabbed him and pulled him out of the store.

The clerk who asked Ferrell to leave purportedly stated that she followed Hersh and Ferrell out of the store. Hersh allegedly pulled out his gun, pointed it at the clerk, and ordered her to go back inside. She complied and was not hurt.

In police reports, Hersh allegedly stated that Ferrell had instigated the incident by using profanity. Ferrell was charged with battery, but surveillance footage from the store allegedly shows that Hersh started the physical altercation. If Hersh is convicted, Ferrell’s conviction may be reversed.

Sources: 2.15.13 Purser Investigation.pdf, 2.15.13 Hersh Plea.pdf.

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