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TPD officer arrested and fired

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TPD Officer LaJoyce Houston TPD Officer LaJoyce Houston
A Tampa Police officer was arrested and terminated, TPD officials announced Thursday afternoon.

Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor held a news conference where she announced the termination and arrest of 47-year-old TPD Officer LaJoyce Houston. Houston was a patrol sergeant with TPD.

Houston was charged with 2 counts of Welfare Fraud and Grand Theft. She was transported to the Hillsborough County Jail.

Also under arrest, is 31-year-old Rita Girven. She is currently in the Hillsborough County Jail on other charges. She is charged with Welfare Fraud. Police say her criminal record includes 49 felony charges.

Castor says police detectives were listening to recorded conversations of Girven as part on an ongoing investigation. In a nine week period, Officer Houston spoke on th phone with Girven a total of 35 times. During these conversations, the inmate told Houston where she could find her government food assistance card, commonly known as an EBT card. On September 1, Houston used the card to purchase $365 dollars in groceries from a Gibsonton Walmart. Houston then gave the card to one of her family member who also made unauthorized purchases. The family member them provided Houston with 50-cents for every dollar she spent and Houston placed that money into Girven's jail canteen account.

Officer Houston is married to a Tampa Police Detective. TPD says there is no indication he is involved, but they are conducting a thorough Internal Affairs investigation.

The Houston's adopted Girven's daughter and have had custody of her since 2009.

Stay with WFLA.com for more on this developing story.

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