Osceola County deputies disciplined for drug-testing colleague on the job, records show

Video: Osceola County deputies disciplined for drug-testing colleague on the job, records show

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — A group of drug agents with the Osceola County Sheriff's Office have been disciplined after the agency said they were protecting one of their own who they suspected could have been under the influence on the job.

An internal investigation shows that one of those disciplined was a captain who admitted he was drug-testing the agent with a kit bought at the drug store on his own, without the sheriff or human resources knowing.

According to the report, one agent said he was drug-testing Luke Rehwoldt in a bathroom while on duty. When asked why, the agent said there was no real reason, just that he looked tired.

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Those interviewed told the internal affairs investigator that the multiple tests given were negative for narcotics, so there was no proof Rehwoldt was under the influence of anything, so there was no reason to loop in the chain of command.

Rehwoldt was part of Osceola County's tight-knit narcotics enforcement team. It was a job that he said he loved.

In January 2019, Rehwoldt asked to be released from the drug unit for personal reasons, a request that was denied. According to those interviewed during the investigation, no one knew why Rehwoldt made the request.

But the investigation shows that the people who worked with him suspected that something wasn't right, months before the request was made.

Records show the situation all came to light after a March 28 drug operation.

According to the investigation, undercover drug agents were so concerned about Rehwoldt’s condition, and that it might be due to being under the influence, that they drove him home. But they never told the supervisor at the scene, and instead went around the sergeant to the captain because they said they didn't "trust him, because he was new."

It was that sergeant who complained to the chain of command about being left out, and the investigation began.

In the end, the agency found that agents that day in March "compromised the safety of the operation and put others at risk."

Rehwoldt was almost immediately removed from the drug unit. Two weeks later, Rehwoldt was fired, and in April he died.

The cause of his death is still under investigation.