There was interesting article today in the Seattle Times about a Bellevue cop that basically got off scot free for DUI several weeks ago. In my eyes, it’s just another example of the double standard for cops getting arrested for DUI.

Here are some snippets from the article:

Headline: New problems for Bellevue cop kicked out of 2012 Hawks game

Sub-headline: A Bellevue police officer disciplined last year for profane and drunken behavior at a Seattle Seahawks game has been charged with DUI for an incident on I-90 last month. A fellow officer who stopped but didn’t arrest him is under scrutiny as well

According to a report Brennan filed Nov. 27, a week after the incident, he was on his way home about 10 p.m. when he was passed on I-90 by a Jeep Cherokee traveling at 73 mph, well above the posted 60 mph limit. He said the Jeep looked similar to Hanke’s personal vehicle, and that it had a law-enforcement-memorial license plate.

Hmm… Interesting

Brennan wrote that the Jeep was “swerving all over the roadway.

Brennan said he activated his overhead lights and pulled the car over. He recognized Hanke and was greeted by an odor of alcohol when the window rolled down, Brennan wrote in the report.

“I saw that Andy had a glazed look on his face, and his eyes were bloodshot, watery and droopy,” Brennan wrote.

He said Hanke refused to say how much he had been drinking and seemed confused when asked to turn off his vehicle, turning the headlights off and on instead.

He’s getting arrested for DUI, right? Right? RIGHT?

Brennan called Hanke’s wife and told her to come and get him. After she arrived in her own vehicle, she drove Hanke home in his car while Brennan waited with her vehicle until she got a ride and came back for it.

You did WHAT?

Cops Don’t Get Arrested for DUI

The scariest thing about this whole situation is that this is just the one incident we’ve heard about. Who knows how many countless other incidents are out there where the cops stop one of their own and look the other way.

The reason this happens is a lack of leadership. This happened three weeks ago. Leadership at the Bellevue police department knew about it immediately. When asked for a quote today, this was the response from the Chief of Police:

While officers are allowed some discretion during a traffic stop, the officer’s decision in this case not to make an arrest is undergoing a thorough and objective internal investigation. That investigation will determine whether the on-duty officer used poor judgment and/or failed to perform their duties.

Wouldn’t a better reaction to the situation have been “we don’t condone letting drunk driver’s go unpunished. It is our policy to treat everyone equally.”? But nope, they have to protect their own.

What do You Think? Is it Fair?

It’s things like this that make my job as a criminal defense attorney fun. Someday both of these cops are going to be asked to get in front of a jury and convince them that my client was guilty of a crime. That’s going to be hard to do when they’ve acted so dishonestly here.

Stryder J. Wegener is the managing partner and owner of Emerald City Law Group, a full-service law firm in Seattle.

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