The Los Angeles Police Department spent the holiday season attempting to tackle the widespread issue of drunk driving among its own officers. The LAPD confirmed to KNBC that seven officers were arrested during the first two weeks of December. The arrests served as the impetus for a department-wide bulletin about a sudden increase in alcohol-related arrests within the department, which has been a long-running problem.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the LAPD’s Police Commission has scrutinized the department for its leniency towards alcohol abuse. A notable incident cited in an LAPD report featured an off-duty officer 15 to 20 beers deep who shot at another officer from a different agency and then crashed his car into his own garage. The department’s disciplinary panel recommended that the officer be suspended for 65 days without pay and demoted in rank.
LAPD Captain Kelly Muniz said:
“Our Behavioral Sciences clinicians have created additional training and employee meetings to prevent future incidents. Although alcohol resources and training are available to LAPD personnel, this does not take the place of criminal and administrative accountability processes that have been initiated and will be carried out.”
The Police Commission recently voted on a proposed policy change to lower the acceptable blood alcohol level for an armed off-duty officer to 0.04, mirroring the stricter standard also used for commercial driver’s license holders. The vote was held in secret, and its result isn’t publicly known. If the LAPD is serious about stopping its own officers from drunk driving, then cops who choose to endanger the public while off-duty must face actual consequences.