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Officer on paid leave for seven years

Officer on paid leave for seven years
Officer Kevin Kilpatrick, as seen in a photo released by the Davie Police Department.

DAVIE, Ga., Feb. 16 (UPI) -- A police officer in Florida has collected more than $550,000 while on paid leave for seven years, says his attorney who contends his client was "railroaded."

Officer Kevin Kilpatrick, 41, of the Davie Police Department was originally placed on leave in October 2003 while being investigated on allegations he violated orders by refusing to stay away from members of the department's Special Investigation Unit, the Orlando Sentinel reported Wednesday.

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Kilpatrick was subject to another investigation while on leave, for allegedly driving under the influence, and was fired in February 2005 despite being found not guilty by a judge. However, an arbitrator ruled a year later the firing was unlawful and Kilpatrick was reinstated with back pay.

The officer said officials still refused to take him off paid leave and he collected $80,275 annually until he was again fired in January 2008, when a psychologist ruled him "permanently unfit for duty." Kilpatrick sued and the city reinstated him in August 2009.

Kilpatrick said psychologists have since ruled him fit for duty, but the department has kept him on paid leave.

"There was nothing wrong with him," said Romin Currier, Kilpatrick's attorney. "This guy was completely railroaded by the department."

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Town Attorney John Rayson said police Chief Patrick Lynn "believes there are ambiguities in the settlement agreement" and wants clarification.

"But if we go back to court for clarification, it will cost the town more money," Rayson said. "I say enough with going back and bothering the judge. There is no reason why we shouldn't be able to get him back to work."

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