Seattle, WA- Two Seattle Police officers are on leave after they were arrested for suspicion of hit-and-run and DUI Monday night in the Sodo area.
A spokesman for the Seattle Police Department that a witness called police after observing a car, initially driven by a woman crash into a light post in 5300 block of 1st Ave. South. The caller told police she saw the woman get out of her Nissan Altima and switch seats with a male passenger who then drove off.
Officers patrolled the area and found the Nissan, which had sustained significant damage to the front end, a few blocks away parked three feet from the curb with the engine running. The responding officers immediately recognized the car occupants as off-duty Seattle police officers, MYNorthwest reported.
Officers noted in their report that Nissan smelled strongly of alcohol.
The male off-duty officer, who is a veteran of special operations, was asked if he “felt buzzed” to which he replied “maybe.” When the arresting officer asked if he should be driving, the drunken officer replied “Probably not.” He also stated he was unaware of the previous crash.
A breathalyzer test showed his blood alcohol level to be .161, twice Washington State’s legal limit of .08
While the male officer was cooperative with police, the female officer was belligerent. She was described as a veteran patrol officer, who had blood shot eyes and slurred speech.
After being placed in handcuffs, the unidentified female officer became combative. According to The Seattle Times, during DUI testing the female officer began cursing the arresting officer, including references to male genitalia. She gave the arresting officer the middle finger several times during the course of the arrest and lunged at the officer at least twice amidst frequent sobbing.
She registered blood alcohol levels between .234 percent and .247 percent. She told officers she was driving her boyfriend around.
Because the detainees were police officers, a Captain was called to the scene. Their case has been forwarded to the City Attorney’s office and could be charged with hit-and-run and driving under the influence.
The case has forwarded to the department’s Office of Professional Accountability for an internal investigation.
Both officers were arrested and released according to standard procedures. They have been placed on leave pending an investigation.
When a civilian driver is arrested for DUI they can be treated harshly, but are officers are given preferential treatment?
In 2011, Seattle officer, Scott Moss, who often appeared as the face of the department, was arrested for DUI, his second since 2005. After his second arrest, where his blood alcohol level was below the legal limit, Moss was able to keep his job.
Should a police officer who has taken an oath to uphold the law be reinstated after being arrested for two DUIs? Everyone deserves the opportunity to redeem themselves after making a mistake, but officers are supposed to enforce the laws and therefore should be held to higher standard than an ordinary citizen.
When an ordinary person, whose occupation requires a great deal of driving, gets one DUI, they are likely to lose their jobs, because DUIs convictions typically result in the loss of driving privileges anywhere between three months to a year depending on the state.