WEST PALM BEACH — A Palm Beach County Fire Rescue captain and powerful firefighters union boss was arrested yesterday after he was pulled over in his vehicle by a Boynton Beach Police officer.
Capt. AJ O’Laughlin, 50, a long-time area rescuer, was charged with DUI after he refused to submit to a test about 9 p.m. yesterday.
The arrest report has not been entered into public record because of the Veteran’s Day holiday, but preliminary information shows O’Laughlin, who lives in Palm City, was released from the county jail on his own recognizance about 1:15 a.m. today.
A police source involved with the arrest told Gossip Extra O’Laughlin expected the officer to let him go because he is a Palm Beach County firefighter.
I’m told the scratch on top of O’Laughlin’s head in the mugshot allegedly occurred when he fell asleep in his holding cell bench and fell to the ground.
As the legislative vice president with the local chapter of the International Association of Firefighters, O’Laughlin is most involved with the political side of the pressure group. Ultimately, he is the one who endorses politicians and, over the years, he has built an impressive political Rolodex.
In August, O’Laughlin took to the stage of a rally and announced that the Palm Beach County chapter of the union had endorsed Adam Putnam for governor.
“On behalf of more than 2,500 firefighters and first responders in Palm Beach County, I’m proud to announce our endorsement of Adam Putnam for Governor,” O’Laughlin said at the August 17 event. “The most important responsibility of our state’s leadership is keeping our people safe, and he’ll make that the top priority. I know he’s got our backs, and we have his.”
Ironically, O’Laughlin was also on hand in April when Gov. Rick Scott declared the increased usage of opioids a health emergency.
“It’s not like a fire. You can’t stop it today,” O’Laughlin said. “This is a long-term epidemic. We’ve been through quaaludes, crack and flakka. It has to run its course. We have to have legislation that will stop it.”