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JSO officer accused of letting woman drive patrol car to Hooters

Officer was disciplined for groping his girlfriend in uniform in public last summer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A JSO officer who was disciplined for groping his girlfriend while in uniform in public last summer is now being accused of letting a woman drive his patrol car to Hooters.

According to reports obtained by the Florida Times-Union, the latest incident stems from complaints that two people witnessed a woman driving Irving Diaz's police cruiser.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Internal Affairs unit received the complaints in October. The first was from a man married to Diaz's ex-wife, who was dropping off Diaz's kids for a visit.

According to the TU, the witness said Diaz "got out of the passenger side of his patrol car and a 24-year old woman got of the driver's side in short shorts and a T-shirt."

A second complaint came from another man who saw her dressed the same, driving the patrol car to the Hooters on San Jose.

News4Jax Crime and Safety Analyst Gil Smith said the officer put public safety at risk.

"If someone comes up to her and needs police assistance, she's not able to do that or while she's driving a car, a felony occurs and the police officer has to respond to it," Smith said. "Even though her boyfriend is a police officer and he's in the seat next to her, she's not able to drive to the scene properly. And if she gets into an accident, the city would be liable for that because she's not on the city's insurance."

The TU said the investigation also found that Diaz searched the police database to check for warrants on the woman.

Smith told News4Jax he met Diaz after his first infraction for the picture showing him "closely embracing" his girlfriend right next to his police car. He said Diaz told him he didn't think it deserved as much media attention as it got.

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"It may be unfair, but that's just how it is when you sign on to the job," Smith said. "Once you leave your house with that uniform on, you have to be on guard and act like someone is watching you the entire time you're out there with your uniform on. Then when you come home and take it off, you can let your hair down a little bit."

It's unclear if it's the same woman in both incidents or if the woman worked at Hooters.

Diaz is facing two counts of conduct unbecoming of an officer and improper use of computer software. His punishment is likely to be more severe than the first.

News4Jax has requested the internal affairs report. News4Jax also tried to get in contact with Diaz to get his side of the story.