Fort Worth officer facing 2 DWI charges is fired

Posted Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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FORT WORTH -- A Fort Worth police officer who was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in October -- when he already had a DWI charge pending in North Richland Hills -- has been fired.

Zebadiah Rosado's termination was effective Jan. 18, according to a disciplinary letter filed with the Civil Service Commission on Jan. 23 and obtained Thursday by the Star-Telegram.

Rosado appealed on Jan. 24.

His attorney, Ray Hosak of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

Rosado was stopped by a Fort Worth officer at 2:20 a.m. Oct. 12 after he was observed committing minor traffic violations while driving in the 100 block of West Fifth Street. The police report states that Rosado pulled away from a parked position without a turn signal, turned into a wrong lane and failed to stay in one lane.

According to the disciplinary letter, the officer conducted a field sobriety test after observing signs of intoxication. Rosado did not successfully complete the test and was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

Rosado refused to submit to a breath test, so police got a warrant to draw a blood sample. Lab results showed a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10, above the legal limit of 0.08, the letter states.

He was charged with DWI on Oct. 19, Tarrant County court records say.

At the time of his arrest, Rosado was on limited duty and in a plainclothes position while awaiting the resolution of a DWI charge resulting from his arrest July 4, 2011, by North Richland Hills police. That case has not gone to trial.

"Based on the facts obtained during an internal investigation, I have concluded that Officer Rosado drove his vehicle in public while intoxicated on Oct. 12, 2012," says the letter, signed by Police Chief Jeff Halstead. "This violation, combined with the fact that he had been arrested for similar misconduct in July 2011, convince me that he should no longer be a Fort Worth police officer."

Edward G. Jones, Rosado's attorney in both criminal cases, was in court Thursday and did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Rosado was arrested before Halstead vowed publicly Jan. 3 that -- starting that day -- he would fire any police officer whom internal investigators determine was driving drunk. Halstead also said that he would no longer wait for a drunken-driving case to make its way through the criminal justice system before ruling on an officer's discipline.

Previously, Halstead had handled DWIs case by case with punishments from 15-day suspensions to firing.

"My message is very, very strong to every employee in this organization, sworn or civilian: You cannot drink and drive any longer unless you want to throw your career down the drain, because I will not tolerate it," Halstead said at a Jan. 3 news conference.

He changed his policy after the arrest of Nicolas Ramirez, a Fort Worth DWI enforcement officer, on Jan. 2 in Westlake. Ramirez was the latest of more than a dozen officers arrested on suspicion of DWI since 2008. They include Maj. Paul Henderson, Halstead's chief of staff, who was arrested in December in Parker County. Henderson was quickly demoted to the rank of captain and removed from his chief of staff position.

The internal investigations of Ramirez's and Henderson's cases ewere pending Thursday. Both their criminal cases are pending, court records show.

In an email Thursday, Halstead said: "We are very blessed in Fort Worth to have outstanding support for our profession. Maintaining the public's trust is our highest priority. We will continue to hold all employees accountable for their actions on and off duty in order to safeguard this valued trust."

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655

Twitter: @deannaboyd

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