Usually, when a member of law enforcement is charged with driving under the influence, he or she is put on desk duty, placed on administrative leave, or suspended pending the outcome of the case.
But that's not what happened in Mountlake Terrace, which is about 15 miles north of Seattle. A police commander in that department has lost his job after being arrested on drunk driving charges.
Multiple news agencies report that on January 31, Mountlake Terrace Police Commander Don Duncan was on call when he was driving toward Lake Stevens after drinking with acquaintances at a restaurant near Arlington. Duncan was pulled over in the early morning hours by Washington State Patrol after the trooper noticed Duncan's car crossing the center line and driving without headlights. Duncan identified himself as being with Mountlake Terrace Police and took field sobriety tests at the scene. Later, he registered alcohol breath test readings of .055 and .058, which are below the legal limit for a DUI charge in Washington.
However, it was Duncan's conduct during and after the incident which likely contributed to his dismissal from the force, according to the media. First, he allegedly attempted to talk his way out of being arrested for DUI and even accused the arresting trooper of lying. During a subsequent internal probe, he claimed that he wasn't given adequate training for being an on-call command duty officer, and also called the entire investigation flawed. It was eventually revealed that Duncan consumed alcohol while on call as command on multiple occasions, according to media reports.
The 50-year old Duncan, who had been on the force for 18 years, has pled not guilty to his DUI charge. Given his BAC readings, there's a good chance that he may not be convicted of DUI; but his conduct pertaining to the incident, which was characterized by a Mountlake Terrace city administrator as demonstrating "a complete absence of judgment," was apparently too much for the department to accept.