Drinking deputy ‘abandoning his post, sleeping in his truck’ instead of patrolling PBIA

(As originally published with bells and whistles, Sun, December 11th 2022, 4:30 AM EST)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — A Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy was accused of reporting for duty at Palm Beach International Airport while intoxicated.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because CBS12 News reported on the same deputy facing that accusation six months earlier.

The previous incident happened the week before Thanksgiving, Nov. 16, a year ago. The Internal Affairs report on that incident did not specify disciplinary action, but Deputy Travis Keene did not return to work full-duty until March of this year.

The last bit of trouble for Deputy Keene took place less than two months later, actually 24 minutes before his shift was to begin, at 5:06 a.m. Tuesday, May 10.

he arrived late to his post, smelled (heavily) of mouthwash…

Internal Affairs-related:

According to this Internal Affairs report, “[A sergeant] received a text message from D/S [Deputy Sheriff] Keene who advised he was running late for work. Upon his arrival to work at 7:13 a.m., [the sergeant] monitored D/S Keene throughout the morning because he arrived late to his post, smelled (heavily) of mouthwash, and was aware D/S Keene had recently returned to full-duty, on March 18, 2022, after he was sustained during an Internal Investigation for being intoxicated while on-duty.

away from his assigned post, the ‘C’ concourse checkpoint

“Less than two hours into his shift, [the sergeant] used his computer and discovered D/S Keene’s status was ‘Pending Mobile’ rather than ‘Available.’ Upon checking the airport camera security system, [the sergeant] found D/S Keene was away from his assigned post, the ‘C’ concourse checkpoint. [The sergeant] located D/S Keene asleep inside his (personal) pickup truck on the 6th floor of the short-term parking lot, section 6E, space #636. The truck’s ignition was possibly in the auxiliary position and undetermined if the engine was running. The driver and passenger windows were halfway down and the radio playing.

“[The sergeant] woke D/S Keene, who exited the driver’s seat. [The sergeant] smelled the odor of an unknown alcoholic beverage emanating from his person. [The sergeant] returned with D/S Keene to the PBIA sergeant’s office, took custody of his gun belt, and notified [the] airport executive officer lieutenant. The Division of Internal Affairs was notified, and D/S Keene was ordered to submit to a breath alcohol test. The breath test indicated D/S Keene was under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, and D/S Keene was placed on administrative leave.”

tardiness to work, abandoning his post, sleeping in his truck…

The Internal Affairs investigative report said the same day, the sergeant sent a memo to his district commander summarizing “his suspicions that led him to believe D/S Keene was impaired while on duty. He referenced D/S Keene’s tardiness to work, abandoning his post, sleeping in his truck, and the odor of an unknown alcoholic beverage emanating from his person. [The sergeant] noted the strong odor of mouthwash was used to mask the alcohol. [The sergeant] was fully aware of the previous administrative investigation which involved D/S Keene reporting for work under the influence of alcohol.”

Internal Affairs-related:

The Internal Affairs investigator drove Keene from the airport to the Breath Alcohol Testing Center, from the BAT to the Division of Internal Affairs, and then to his home. The investigator “noted the strong odor of an unknown alcoholic beverage emanating from D/S Keene’s person” and wrote, “He looked fatigued, and he avoided eye contact. D/S Keene was apologetic and cooperative during my contact with him. I did not question D/S Keene regarding the allegations prior to his focus interview.”

There were two breath tests.

According to the report, “At 11:15 a.m., D/S Keene’s first breath sample contained .215 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. At 11:18 a.m., D/S Keene’s breath sample contained .217 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. Breath Alcohol Concentration is the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath. BAC is expressed as the weight of ethanol, measured in grams, in 210 liters of breath.”

Then, the investigator wrote the sergeant from the airport said he “immediately smelled the strong odor of mouthwash from D/S Keene’s breath. [The sergeant] asked D/S Keene if he was okay, to which he replied yes, and [the sergeant] sent D/S Keene to his post.”

See also: Boynton Beach Police mourns loss of an officer

After that, “[The airport executive officer lieutenant] directed [the sergeant] to monitor D/S Keene to make sure he was attentive to his duties. At 9 a.m., [the sergeant] checked for D/S Keene and found he was not at his post. [The sergeant] immediately notified [the lieutenant], and he and [the district commander] responded.“

RELATED: Drinking deputy tried to patrol PBIA before failing breath-alcohol test

The lieutenant told the investigator in the sergeant’s office, he “noticed D/S Keene’s eyes were bloodshot and watery.”

Today was just a bad day and I’ve been trying…

The district commander said when he “arrived at work, he located D/S Keene seated in the lounge. [He] observed D/S Keene from a distance without making contact and did not observe any questionable behavior. [He] could not smell the odor of alcohol coming from D/S Keene but did note he appeared to have a dry mouth. Upon reaching the sergeant’s office, [he] asked D/S Keene, ‘when was the last time you had something to drink?’ D/S Keene responded, ‘last night.’ [He] noted D/S Keene said, ‘Today was just a bad day and I’ve been trying, I was tired and needed to close my eyes by going into the truck and taking a nap.’ [He] confirmed D/S Keene’s behavior was very similar to the incident in November when he was talked intoxicated on duty.”

… after he finished a ‘whole bottle of vodka.’

Finally, the report said, “D/S Keene arrived late for work due to an unforeseen circumstance involving his dogs that began at 4 a.m. D/S Keene had just fallen asleep around midnight after he finished a ‘whole bottle of vodka.’ D/S Keene acknowledged he met with [the sergeant] before he arrived at his post in the ‘C’ concourse. D/S Keene admitted he left his post and went to his personal truck, where he ‘fell asleep’ due to being tired from the early morning events. Once awakened by [the sergeant] and brought to the sergeant’s office, D/S Keene remembered meeting IA personnel and consenting to a test of his breath.

being intoxicated on-duty could lead to poor judgment.

“D/S Keene denied consuming any alcoholic beverages while alone in his truck. D/S Keene did not challenge the accuracy or veracity of any of the witness statements, the subsequent administrative process, or the accuracy of the breath test results. D/S Keene acknowledged being intoxicated on-duty could lead to poor judgment.

Internal Affairs-related:

“D/S Keene confirmed he is a 23-year employee of the PBSO currently assigned to Airport Operations. D/S Keene received previous discipline, eighty (80) hour suspension and a Last Chance Agreement for being on-duty while intoxicated on Nov. 16, 2021.”

The recommended finding was, “A preponderance of evidence does exist to prove Deputy Sheriff Travis Keene violated Rule and Regulation IX, Improper Conduct Offenses, (22) Being on Duty While Intoxicated. D/S Keene was on duty as a uniformed law enforcement deputy sheriff with a breath alcohol level of .217 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.”

The investigator signed the report on Aug. 10, and it was reviewed and approved the same day.

The final disciplinary action taken by the PBSO was termination, and that was finalized on Oct. 13.

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