Officer Too Drunk to Accept MADD Award


Hypocrisy does, sometimes, show itself with those who are tasked with combating drunk driving.

A report recently obtained by WFLA-TV detailed how a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Deputy was too drunk to accept an award for making 100 DUI arrests at a Mothers Against Drunk Driving banquet.

According to the report, Michael Szeliga was to attend a two-day DUI training session and the MADD banquet in Fort Lauderdale.

Szeliga initially attended the training, but admittedly left during a break with two other officers. Szeliga was leaving the DUI unit to become a detective and, therefore, did not believe the training to be relevant. After leaving the training session, Szeliga began drinking whiskey and coke by the pool at the hotel he was staying at.

That afternoon when a hotel fire alarm sounded, Szeliga was spotted in the hallway of the hotel in nothing but his boxer shorts. Witnesses said that he appeared to be intoxicated.

At the MADD banquet, Szeliga was confronted by Gulfport Police Chief Robert Vincent who told Szeliga that he was too intoxicated to be at the event and accept the award.

“You probably don’t want to be here, this isn’t appropriate,” Vincent said he told Szeliga.

Szeliga responded by throwing rude comments at Vincent.

Vincent reported the incident to Szeliga’s supervisor who sent Szeliga back to his room.

After an internal affairs investigation where Szeliga denied being too drunk to receive the award, the deputy received one day of paid suspension and was forced to write a letter of apology to Vincent.

The conference at which Szeliga’s drunken antics took place was paid for by MADD.

“It was wrong, and again, one of the most ridiculous things I’ve heard of,” said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. “When I first heard about it, that was (what) my reaction was. ‘Come on, you’ve got to be kidding me. Really?’”

What’s more, since the incident, Szeliga has been promoted, yes promoted, to the detective position that he used as the reason for skipping out on the DUI training.

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