Have you seen those stupid law enforcement commercials about how police are “cracking down” on drunk-driving? They depict civilians as these lawless, constantly drunk and hiccupping buffoons with alcohol literally pouring out their car as they roll their window down to talk to the police officer. They’ll show the tough-guy cops shining their flashlights in civilians’ cars and eyes, asking them, “Sir, have you been drinking?” They kind of remind me of Buzz Lightyear before he realized he was only a toy.
You can get arrested for “suspicion of DUI” even if your blood alcohol level turns out to be zero. That’s how “concerned” police are for our safety. Whenever they pull you over and start badgering you about “how many drinks you’ve had,” they act like they never drink anything with alcohol in it. That would be irresponsible.
More than likely, they enjoy alcoholic beverages as much as the next guy. It’s just that since they’re cops, they think they can get away with it. After all, they put their lives on the line to protect and serve the public, so we should cut them some slack. In fact, a lot of slack. But maybe they should “crack down” on their own more often.
In Gresham, Oregon, there was a police officer named Jason Servo who was apparently frequently drunk on the job. It culminated after he and several of his cop buddies went out drinking one night at a bar, and because of his intoxication, Servo crashed his department vehicle into a ditch while on his way home. Servo was arrested on DUI charges, and after police investigated the incident, Servo was fired from his job.
Now, Servo is suing the department for $6 million, claiming that his addiction to alcohol was a disability, and under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a person can’t be fired for having such a disability. A local Fox affiliate reported:
“The lawsuit alleges Servo was not the only officer drinking while carrying his weapon and badge into several of the bars on the McMenamins campus in January 2011. ‘This was also in keeping with the department custom and policy,’ the lawsuit states. The officers had previously been at a gun training session in Troutdale. Investigators said a witness claimed Servo showed his badge and gun in a threatening manner, while ‘significantly intoxicated.’ ‘Due to the significant amount of alcohol he had consumed, Plaintiff has no clear recollection of events of that evening,’ the lawsuit states. Servo attempted to drive away, but soon crashed an official police department Chevrolet Blazer into a ditch. A Clackamas County deputy investigated and cited Servo for DUII and someone else drove him home.”
At a press conference, Servo spoke about his alcohol addiction and how his lawsuit is about more than just the money:
“There were times I went home, and I couldn’t get crime scenes out of my head. I went to drinking for that and there’s other officers that do the same thing… If officers are treated the way that I am, they’re not going to seek help on their own and I don’t want to see other officers harmed in the future.”
If it’s truly a disability, then I guess if he’s reinstated as a police officer (I hope he isn’t), he won’t be arresting people for DUI. How can you arrest someone for having a disability? That’s like arresting someone for having cancer or Down’s syndrome.
And I suppose he won’t be arresting anyone on possession of drugs charges. Many people have serious addictions to crack, heroin, meth. Those would all be disabilities in Servo’s eyes, so he’d have to agree not to make any arrests having to do with any kind of chemical dependency.
My guess is that if he goes back to law enforcement, he’ll be back badgering people about how much they’ve had to drink that night, having people walk the line, checking their pupils, having them submit to breathalyzer tests, arresting people on “suspicion” and all the rest.
If you’re a cop, then it’s a disability and deserves compassion. If you’re a civilian, you’re breaking the law, and you’re going to jail, because it’s what you deserve.