Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa officer fired for drinking at strip club was canned before

TAMPA — When the Tampa Police Department fired Officer Paul Madsen last week for drinking on duty at a strip club, it wasn't the first time the agency told him to go.

Madsen had been fired from the force in 2003, accused of taunting, while he was off-duty, a Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy working at the Channelside entertainment complex.

Madsen called the deputy "boy" and used a racial epithet, according to a notice of disciplinary action in his city personnel file.

The episode is one of several problematic incidents listed in his personnel file during his tenure with the city — including mouthing off to a supervisor, showing up disheveled in court and leaving a gun in his cruiser.

The altercation that led to his previous termination started when Madsen and some friends went out to a club, and one of his friends starting arguing with security. When a sheriff's deputy working there on extra duty intervened, Madsen "continued to yell, taunt and refuse to obey the deputy's commands," according to the notice.

The Hillsborough deputy wrote everything down in a report, and the Police Department opened an internal investigation on Madsen.

He was fired a year later after that investigation determined he had abused his position, showed insubordination and lied.

But in January 2004, the Police Department rehired Madsen after he filed a grievance and the police union fought successfully on his behalf.

The Tampa Police Benevolent Association and the department came to an agreement. Then-Chief Steve Hogue reduced the internal affairs finding from "sustained" to "unsubstantiated."

Madsen came back to work at $29.79 an hour, records show.

He was fired again Friday after a different internal investigation determined he and fellow Officer Antonio Ortega drank while on duty Nov. 9 to the point of obvious intoxication.

They were at the Penthouse Club, a strip club on West Shore Boulevard.

Although Madsen's evaluation a few months before the incident reflects nothing but high marks, his 23 years at the agency are peppered with problems.

He caused three traffic accidents, according to his personnel file.

He failed to properly conduct a sexual battery case, keeping the victim waiting so long while he did other tasks that she eventually left before she could be examined for evidence at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.

He showed up to testify in court unshaven. When reprimanded, he called a supervisor a derogatory name.

He left a gun in his patrol car while transporting suspects in 1998.

And in 1991, the records show, he got in trouble for harassing his girlfriend's estranged husband and for using a racial slur when speaking to the man.

Times staff writer Laura C. Morel contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at or (813) 226-3433.

Tampa officer fired for drinking at strip club was canned before 06/03/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 12:06am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump sprinkles political attacks into Scout Jamboree speech

    GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Ahead of President Donald Trump's appearance Monday at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the troops were offered some advice on the gathering's official blog: Fully hydrate. Be "courteous" and "kind." And avoid the kind of divisive chants heard during the 2016 campaign such as "build …

    President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts of America's 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., July 24, 2017. [New York Times]
  2. Trump, seething about attorney general, speculates about firing Sessions, sources say

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation.

  3. John McCain to return to Senate for health care vote

    WASHINGTON — The Senate plans to vote Tuesday to try to advance a sweeping rewrite of the nation's health-care laws with the last-minute arrival of Sen. John McCain — but tough talk from President Donald Trump won no new public support from skeptical GOP senators for the flagging effort that all but …

  4. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies


    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  5. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.