The police are here to protect and serve their community. Their job involves many vital tasks, including keeping citizens safe, arresting criminals and issuing traffic citations. One thing that we tend to forget is that they are human and make mistakes. Some mistakes are innocent errors, while others are errors in judgment.
Keeping this in mind, it made the local news that Sgt. John Moreland of the Aurora PD was pulled over in Denver on suspicion of DUI on a Monday at 3 p.m. We all make mistakes, but what was surprising about Moreland’s behavior was that he made some classic rookie errors in judgment. These include:
- Erratic driving: The arresting officer had probable cause because Moreland was weaving in and out of his lane, overtly exhibiting drunken driver behavior.
- All the signs: Once pulled over, the off-duty officer exhibited such common signs as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and he had the smell of alcohol on his breath.
- Fled the scene: There is an impulse for many who get pulled over to try and run away, whether it is on foot or in their vehicle. This officer fled the scene but fortunately made a good decision and returned a few minutes later.
- Made matters worse: Those pulled over need not incriminate themselves by being “too helpful,” but Moreland’s behavior added lane usage violation and obstructing a peace officer to the charge of DUI. He also had a prior breach involving a high level of alcohol intoxication and prohibited firearm use — he took a plea deal.
- Impacts career: While it is rare for a cop to get a DUI, it is common for the charge to directly or indirectly impact the career of those pulled over. Aurora police immediately put Moreland on paid leave.
No word on adjudication
As is often the case for those charged, it is more newsworthy to cover crimes when the incident occurs rather than the outcome of the court date, so there is no word on Moreland’s penalties. We all make mistakes, but this is a typical result for someone charged with enforcing the rules.