Fort Worth police chief demotes assistant after DWI arrest



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Posted on December 4, 2012 at 6:42 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 4 at 8:11 PM

FORT WORTH (WFAA) — A top-ranking officer with Fort Worth Police Department has been demoted.

Maj. Paul Henderson, who served as chief of staff to Chief Jeff Halstead, is now a captain.

Henderson was off-duty when he was arrested Saturday in Parker County on suspicion of driving drunk. Chief Halstead calls it a violation of the public's trust.

"I have not tolerated this behavior in the past, and I will make it very clear I will never tolerate this in the future," Halstead said in a statement on Tuesday.

An affidavit filed by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper says Henderson initially denied drinking and said he was driving erratically because he was texting. Later, the officer admitted to having had a few drinks.

Henderson then performed poorly on a field sobriety test and declined a bood test. 

Henderson will take a pay cut and will work with community programs. He returns from detached duty on December 8. An internal affairs investigation is under way, headed by the very department Henderson once presided over. 

Chief Halstead has been haunted by repeat drunken driving charges levied against his officers since taking the post four years ago this month. Henderson is the highest-ranking officer of the dozen who have been arrested for DWI. 

In 2009, Officer Jesus Manuel Cisneros went to jail following a drunken driving accident that ended in the death of a young mother.

Halstead has launched mandatory alcohol awareness training for all officers. Punishments have ranged from suspension to termination.

The chief said Henderson's position will remain vacant and job duties will be reassigned.