Erik Knutsen spent hours and hours at his favorite nude clubs. He wasn't nude. It was what he was wearing that got him in so much trouble: His deputy's uniform.
The Broward Sheriff's Office deputy has been fired for embarrassing the agency, lying on reports, and skipping official calls so he could remain at The Booby Trap, The Cheetah III, or sometimes the late-hours Allstar's, all while on duty, an internal affairs investigation found. All three clubs were outside his zone of responsibility.
Knutsen had worked at BSO for nearly five years, earning $53,060 annually, when he was let go in February. The internal affairs file, released Monday to the Sun Sentinel, details how the agency confirmed its suspicions by placing a tracker on the deputy's patrol car.
"I'm not a bad person,'' he told BSO investigators in a sworn statement. "I just sometimes do dumb things.''
Knutsen, who couldn't be reached by the newspaper for comment, admitted to BSO investigators he was guilty of "poor decision making,'' the file says. But he told them he mostly hung out in The Booby Trap's kitchen, eating and watching TV with the head cook, a man who filled in as a father figure after the 2009 passing of Knutsen's dad. At The Cheetah, he said he was visiting a friend at the parking valet stand or helping move patrons out safely at closing time.
Knutsen denied having sex or "any involvement'' with the female strippers and said he was "there to see my friends."
According to the BSO file:
Knutsen became a target of investigators after an unidentified complainant told the Sheriff's Office that Knutsen was hanging out at full-nudity, full-bar strip clubs while on duty. The allegations included claims he had female strippers in his patrol car and that "sexual activity was taking place,'' accusations never substantiated.
Knutsen worked the overnight shift, from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Investigators at BSO took a look at the calls he'd handled at the clubs in question. There were only a few.
Then they stuck a tracker onto Knutsen's squad car, and Knutsen's career at the agency was on the path to termination.
Over a five-week period starting in October, Knutsen's fondness for the strip clubs was confirmed. Here's what the investigators found:
Week one: Out of 36 work hours, the deputy spent 10 hours, six minutes and 28 seconds at The Booby Trap and The Cheetah III in Pompano Beach.
Week two: Knutsen worked 44 hours, and spent 10 hours, 37 minutes and 48 seconds at the strip clubs, including about 20 minutes at a third club, Allstar's, which investigators said was a favorite spot in Deerfield Beach for strippers to visit after the nude clubs closed.
Week three: His work hours totaled 36, and of those, he spent eight hours, 59 minutes and 44 seconds at the clubs.
Week four: His 32-hour work week included five hours, three minutes and 30 seconds at the strip clubs and the after-club.
Week five: Knutsen put in 36 work hours, of which 10 hours, 20 minutes and 26 seconds were at the three establishments.
Investigators started digging into his dispatch records, and found that time and again, Knutsen was dispatched to calls, claimed on the radio or in his paperwork he'd shown up, but actually never left The Booby Trap.
Some of the calls were minor: suspicious vehicle, disturbance, suspicious person, trespassing.
But one was a disturbance with a weapon on Northwest 21st Street in Pompano Beach. Knutsen reported he arrived as a backup to another officer at 10:58 p.m. and left the scene at 11:47 p.m
our tax dollars at work
suprised they fired him, thought they probably send him to rehab or something