ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando police officer's attorney said there is not enough evidence to show that his client was a drug user and then lied about it in order to get a job at the department.
However, police said medical records show that five years ago, Joe Ingoglia was taken to the hospital for a suspected overdose.
Police said there were opioids in his system, but when asked on his job application if he had done drugs, such as heroin, he said no.
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The Orlando Police Department said lying is grounds for terminating a police officer.
Ingoglia, who hasn't worn an Orlando police uniform in more than a year, said he wants his job back.
"Lying is an issue," Orlando police Deputy Chief Eric Smith said.
OPD's contract allows for officers to fight punishment in front of an arbitrator, who hears both sides and decides if the termination will stand.
Ingoglia worked as an officer for years before OPD got a call from an out-of-state department in 2017 saying they were investigating the death of Ingoglia's brother.
They said they discovered text messages suggesting a past drug issue and 911 calls in which Ingoglia was passed out from a suspected drug overdose in 2013, two years before he was hired.
A background investigation didn't raise a red flag, and Ingoglia passed a polygraph.
But that meant little after the new information.
"The evidence kept stacking up," said Dwaine Rivers, of the agency's internal affairs division.
A deputy police chief said the police chief said he would allow Ingoglia to stay if he turned over his medical records, but the city said he never provided them or any evidence clearing him of the drug use allegations.
Attorneys argued that medical records are confidential by law and that no one should be required to release them, including a police officer.
But standing on those principles and fighting for his rights cost him his job. Ingoglia chose to not testify.
It will take several weeks or months before a final decision is made.
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