By Whitney Black
Although police officers do a lot to protect citizens, they tend to get away with too much. On July 27, 2018 a chief police officer in Fishers, Indiana was arrested on DUI charges. He is now on paid administrative leave, according to wthr.com. Luckily, no one was badly injured in the accident. Although he was arrested, it is unfair that he is on paid leave.
In the state of Indiana, “Penalties for DUIs in Indiana vary based on the driver’s BAC level, the age of any passengers and the number and type of prior convictions. A first OWI with a BAC of 0.08 percent to 0.15 percent or using a controlled substance commits a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500,” according to statelaws.findlaw.com. However, “If an officer is convicted of a DUI while on duty it will almost always result in termination, primarily because drinking while on duty is considered grounds for revocation of an officer’s certification or violation of the officer’s employment contract.”
Although police officers have a tough job in which they risk their lives to protect us, at the end of the day they can potentially make wrong decisions. When they do so, they should be held just as accountable as any other citizen. When truck drivers are convicted of a DUI, their commercial drivers license (CDL) is automatically suspended, according to michigancriminalattorney.com. The police enforce the law, so it is only fair they face the same consequences. The Fishers police chief was arrested with a breathalyzer test of 0.126 percent, so he had to step down from being chief and is on paid leave until trial, according to wthr.com
Police should be held at a slightly higher standard because they enforce the law and have the power to punish those who do not follow it. However, there is a difference because driving under the influence is a choice. The police officer is on paid leave after causing a three car accident. He could have easily severely injured or killed himself or the ones in the other cars. He should be held fully accountable for his actions and should be fired or placed on unpaid leave until his trial.
Some police accept the responsibility of their actions and just quit if they were on duty and know they are going to be terminated. If that happens, they should not be able to get a job as an officer anywhere else because if they got away with it once, they’re more likely to do it again. The same goes for the off duty cops; if the get paid leave then what is stopping them from making the same mistake? What happens if they kill someone the next time? What does this prove to other cops and citizens in general? The simple answer is they should not be on paid leave simply because of the severity of the accident their choices caused.
Some may believe police may become power hungry due to the power they are given. This could be true because police play a major role in society as those in charge of enforcing laws and punishing those who don’t follow them.
Police are brave people and should be respected. They do serve a lot in keeping us safe however, they are humans who make mistakes, but a DUI is not just an accident; it is a choice that could affect someone’s life. Any officer should be terminated and arrested like any normal citizen.
When they do things like DUI they need to serve the time. They enforce the law, so they should follow it. They punish those who act against the law, so they should be held accountable, too.