A Pueblo County case brings up a question: Why wasn't a Colorado Department of Corrections investigator treated the way the majority of the public would be treated following a DUI arrest? A recent report identifies a problem within the county, but exactly what the problem is is up for debate or interpretation. Either legal officials get preferential treatment within the system or the system has no clear standards regarding the handling of DUI arrests.
According to sources, a state investigator caused a drunk driving accident on Sept. 6. The 61-year-old suspect admitted to the responding officer that he had drunk a couple of beers earlier that day after the officer noticed the smell of alcohol on the suspect. Due to faulty equipment, a proper breathalyzer test was not administered to the suspect until a couple of hours after the 4:30 p.m. DUI crash, and he blew above the legal limit in Colorado. The police report also shows that he failed sobriety tests after the accident.
Even though no one died in the collision, this was still a serious offense because the suspect blew well above the state's legal limit, plus the crash did injure the people in the other vehicle. Based on those facts, most would think that the suspect would at least be booked and held in jail until he got sober, but that was not the case. Sources report that officers brought the DUI suspect home after the arrest, a decision that surprised the Pueblo Police Chief.
While some representatives from the department claim that booking a DUI suspect is often left to individuals to decide and that letting the suspect go was not a unique scenario, their leader is disappointed and angry. He has come forward and insisted that the norm in such cases is to put suspects in jail, and he regrets that that best practice was not followed in the Sept. 6 DUI arrest.
What do you think? Was this a case of Colorado lawmen treating a fellow Colorado lawman differently than an everyday DUI suspect, or was letting the suspect go a result of unclear practices within the police department?
The Chieftain: DOC lawman arrested on DUI not put in jail (9/10/2010)