A Denver police officer’s behavior, all caught on tape, is being used by the city’s independent monitor as example as to why more discipline is needed in the police department, according to a recent Coloradoan.com article. The officer had a blood alcohol content three times higher than the legal limit when he crashed his vehicle, he yelled obscenities at officers and demanded special treatment since he was an officer of the law.
According to Silverthorne Police Department arrest records, the off-duty officer drove his vehicle off the road the evening of February 17, 2010. When officers approached him, he claimed he was talking on his cell phone when he veered off the road. Officers noticed his slurred speech, watery and pink eyes and the smell of alcohol. The officer admitted he had a gun in his vehicle, which the police confiscated. The officer identified himself as a police officer and asked the responding officers to “help out a fellow officer” and take him home.
One of the responding officers recorded the arrest on her iPhone. On audio recordings obtained by a local news station, the officer was heard screaming obscenities at police officers and asking for special treatment, telling the officers “you suck” and yelling other expletives. He ranted for nearly 40 minutes while officers processed paperwork and took him to a local medical center for blood alcohol tests.
The officer pleaded guilty to DUI and was sentenced to 48 hours of community service, a year of probation and 30 days’ electronic monitoring. He had no prior criminal record and was previously awarded a Medal of Valor from the Denver Police Department. The city independent monitor felt that the officer should have received additional disciplinary action for attempting to use his position to avoid facing charges.
The Colorado criminal defense attorney in this case undoubtedly prepared a solid defense that basically got the officer off with a hard slap on the wrist, but the officer had a few things in his favor. No one was injured or killed in the crash. It was his first offense. He had no prior criminal record. He was an officer of the law with a stellar work record until he made the unwise decision to drink and drive. All of these factors made his criminal defense attorney job that much easier.