PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Town of Palm Beach fired police officer Levente Henter Tuesday following an investigation that determined marijuana was in his system shortly after his patrol car was damaged on June 24, police said.
According to the termination notice, Henter completed an alarm call at 200 Via Bellaria then pulled his patrol car into a nearby driveway. He failed to notice a metal chain across the driveway at 150 Via Bellaria. As he continued driving, the chain "rode up the hood to the windshield and side view mirror" and the vehicle sustained many scratches along the hood, along with a cracked windshield, a broken side-view mirror and a cracked front headlight lens, according to the notice.
The total damage amounted to $1,844. Police Chief Kirk Blouin directed Henter to provide a urine sample shortly thereafter. Blouin was notified June 29 that Henter had tested positive for marijuana, according to the notice.
Later tests Henter took on his own "many days" after the incident came back negative, the report said.
Henter, a 37-year-old Greenacres resident, was disciplined in 2010 on an unrelated matter.
In March 2010, Police Chief Kirk Blouin suspended Henter for four weeks without pay. During an investigation that led to the March 2, 2010 firing of Sgt. Keith Munyan, it was revealed that Henter did not disclose until 2009 that Munyan had made indecent comments involving a minor. The investigation determined Munyan's claim, made to Henter in 2006, was unfounded, but determined that Munyan had violated more than six department policies.
Henter told investigators that he did not believe Munyan's claim, which is why he didn't disclose it earlier. Blouin wrote in the 2010 notice of suspension that Henter either "failed to report the confession of a serious crime" or "condoned and encouraged this type of conversation" with Munyan, then later using it to retaliate against Munyan.
"All of this has given me great cause for concern about your judgment," Blouin wrote in the 2010 suspension notice.
Henter was one of several officers who filed discrimination complaints against the town in 2011. This spring, a town investigation determined neither the town nor any of its employees broke state or federal law, but Scott Duquette, the focus of the complaints, was demoted from captain to officer.
In Henter's latest employee evaluation, supervisors gave him a rating of 3.18 out of 5 which fits within the "meets expectations" category, according to the town's human resources director, Danielle Olson. A rating below 3 is unacceptable and triggers counseling, she said.
Henter joined the department in April 2004. His last salary was approximately $68,700, according to Olson. Henter has 14 days to file an appeal.
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