The police chief of Tuscumbia, Alabama, seemed drunk after he drove his car into his mailbox and then into the department-issued police car in his driveway.
That's according to the Florence, Alabama, officer who testified before an Alabama circuit court judge who was considering the chief's appeal of his 2010 DUI conviction. The chief appealed the conviction, saying Florence police subjected him to tests that other suspects in his position wouldn't have had.
The Florence police officer said the man had slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and the smell of alcohol on his breath as he questioned him about the accident. The suspect allegedly refused to take a field sobriety test and later refused a breath test. That's when the officer was ordered by a superior to seek a search warrant to collect urine and blood samples to measure the chief's blood alcohol content.
That act was the basis for the appeal. The police chief's lawyer said it was not standard procedure for Florence officials to collect such samples from DUI suspects if there were no fatalities or injuries in the accident, and that his client had been unfairly singled out for prosecution.
There is no law in Alabama banning the collection of fluids after a warrant is issued when a DUI suspect will not submit to a breath test, but the arresting officer did admit under oath that he would not normally go through those measures. A prosecutor told the jury that the officer's suspicion that the man was drunk proved correct, as tests put the chief's blood alcohol content at 0.27, or more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 in Alabama.
The man was suspended but not terminated as police chief. His driver's license was not suspended by the Alabama Department of Public Safety. While many people may jump at the chance to criticize a public official, the law affords him the right to appeal a conviction, because he could face serious consequences if he didn't.
Source: Times Daily, "Officer: Police chief appeared intoxicated," Dennis Sherer, Jan. 10, 2012