Burlington, VT- Burlington’s Deputy Police Chief Andy Higbee is now on administrative leave after being arrested for drunken driving early Sunday after he failed to use his turn signal.
Vermont State Police were patrolling in St. Albans late Sunday night as part of their Operation Sober Summer when they saw a car make a turn off of Casino Road onto Vermont 105 without using a turn signal.
The driver was signaled to pull over when they discovered it was Deputy Police Chief Andy Higbee, 44, who was off-duty at the time. Higbee was then arrested for suspicion of drunk driving, his second such arrest, the Burlington Free Press reported.
Typically, blood alcohol levels are a matter of public record, but Vermont State Police spokeswoman Stephanie Dasaro declined to reveal the results of the roadside test or the one conducted later at police barracks.
In a press release, Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling stated Higbee was put on administrative leave pending the results of an investigation.
This wasn’t Higbee’s first DUI arrest. In 1999, he was charged with intoxicated driving after he struck a utility pole and barn. He was demoted as a result of that arrest, Chief Schirling promoted Higbee in 2008 because of the way he handled his first DUI arrests.
In 2008, Chief Schiling told the Burlington Free Press, “He called. He didn’t try to flee. He didn’t try to broom it. He just stood up and said, ‘I’m going to eat it. I made a mistake, and I’ve got to fix it and move on.’”
At the time of his promotion to deputy chief of operations, Higbee called his first DUI “the worst mistake I’ve ever made personally and professionally.”
Higbee is among the many law enforcement officers across the country who has been arrested for DUI. These incidents occur with alarming frequency especially since police officers are bound by duty to uphold the laws not break them
Higbee seemed to have learned from his first mistake until this weekend, but to his credit at least he didn’t play the “I’m a police officer” card during his arrest unlike an Indiana police officer who tried to get out his DUI charge on the Fourth of July.
That officer was also off-duty when he was pulled over. He first said his arrest was “bullshit,” and tried to convince officers to let him go and let his wife drive them home.
The Indiana officer was fired as a result of his arrest, but that sort of decision is left up to head of police in each district. It isn’t uncommon for police officers to be given second chances after a DUI arrest.
Most believe that people deserve second chances even when it comes to a DUI arrest and an expert DUI lawyer can make certain everyone gets that second chance. For some people including police officers an intoxicated driving charge can affect their current employment or future job prospects so it’s in their best interest to try and beat a conviction.