The Davie Police Department hasn't let Officer Kevin Kilpatrick report to duty for seven years -- but still pays him $80,275 annually.
He has made more than $550,000 for not working.
"There was nothing wrong with him," said Romin Currier, Kilpatrick's attorney. "This guy was completely railroaded by the department."
Under the settlement in the federal case, Kilpatrick was supposed to return to work and get a job behind a desk.
Kilpatrick, who was hired in February 1994, has said all along that he wanted to come back to work. But his attorney says the town has put "hoops" in Kilpatrick's way, insisting that he complete a polygraph even though that was not part of the settlement. Town officials have since backed down, but are now requiring him to complete his recertification as a police officer so that he can return to work.
Town officials have argued that Kilpatrick is "permanently unfit for duty," based on the opinion of one psychologist given in December 2007. The officials say they worry the "unfit for duty" finding could make the town liable in court if Kilpatrick got involved in a shooting, Town Attorney John Rayson said.
But a more recent opinion from a psychiatrist selected by the town's pension board disputes that earlier finding. Given in August 2008, it says Kilpatrick is indeed fit for duty and able to work as a cop both mentally and physically.
"Do you think the town wants to pay him to sit home on his fanny?" Rayson said. "The town wanted him back to work, but in dispatch or a desk job. The town is in kind of a Catch-22. The town is duty-bound under the [settlement] agreement to pay him."
Through his attorney, Kilpatrick declined to comment.
By all accounts, Kilpatrick was an exceptional police officer with an impeccable record. He won high praise from supervisors during his first 10 years with the department. He was quickly promoted to K-9 officer, served on the SWAT team and also worked undercover as a narcotics detective.
Currier says the department's top brass targeted Kilpatrick after a rift developed in 2003 between him and Police Chief John George, who has since retired and could not be reached for comment.
According to court records, George placed Kilpatrick on paid leave in October 2003 over complaints about "actions you have taken toward your fellow officers" and launched an internal investigation into whether he violated a direct order to stay away from members of the department's Special Investigation Unit. The case ended with a finding that he violated lawful orders.
While still on paid leave, Kilpatrick became the subject of another internal investigation, into an alleged DUI. A jury found him not guilty in September 2004 but, after an internal affairs investigation into the incident, the chief fired Kilpatrick the following February for violating department policy.
A year later, an arbitrator ruled Davie was wrong to terminate Kilpatrick and reduced his discipline to a 10-day suspension. The arbitrator awarded back pay and restored Kilpatrick's benefits and seniority.
Still, the town wouldn't let him go back to work. As court records show, Kilpatrick had already been found fit for duty in two separate psychological exams, but officials insisted he had to pass another one, given by an expert picked by the city. Meanwhile, he remained on paid leave.
This time, the psychologist found Kilpatrick "permanently unfit for duty." Based on that, the department fired him again in January 2008.
Kilpatrick filed a federal lawsuit in May 2008, arguing that Davie had violated his federal rights. The town settled in August 2009, agreeing to reinstate him and pay him $300,000 in back pay and attorneys' fees.
But to this day, he remains on paid leave, not allowed to work. Davie is still negotiating the terms of his employment, the town attorney said.
Rayson said Police Chief Patrick Lynn has resisted putting Kilpatrick back to work because Lynn "believes there are ambiguities in the settlement agreement and he wants clarification. But if we go back to court for clarification, it will cost the town more money. 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."
In the meantime, Kilpatrick has continued to collect yearly raises and benefits negotiated by the police union over the past seven years.
Kilpatrick has agreed to retire in February 2014, when he is eligible to receive his full pension.
"He's more than happy to go back to work or take the retirement," his attorney said. "He doesn't care."