By on January 18, 2012

Derrick Curtis Saunders' mugshot courtesy of Arapahoe County, COHe was served a few too many, now his police union wants to protect his job

Most of us who aren’t naive know that law enforcement officers get treated differently when it comes to traffic laws. I’m not talking about the justifiable emergency cases on duty when a cop has to speed, run a red light or otherwise violate traffic laws. In those casse the laws in all 50 of the United States specifically exempt LEOs from traffic ordinances.

No, what I’m talking about are all the casual and formal ways in which cops give other cops a break. Some of them are unquestionably acts of criminal corruption, as in the recent ticket fixing scandal in the Bronx where 16 police officers and police union officials have been indicted. Scandals like that undoubtedly grow out of the culture of “professional courtesy” where those on the other side of the thin blue line and their families get a pass on traffic tickets. Spend a few minutes at LEO forums and you’ll see that in cop culture, it’s a very bad thing to give an off-duty cop a traffic ticket. When those 16 NYPD officers were arraigned, hundreds of their fellow cops and police union members showed up at the courthouse to support them and not incidentally try to intimidate journalists and keep them from publishing photos of the indicted and arraigned police officers doing the perp walk.

I would hope that what some cops say on those forums is true and that most LEOs draw the line for professional courtesy at alcohol related offenses, but with alcohol related offenses, too, some cops are undoubtedly giving their buddies in blue a break sometimes with a ride home instead of a ticket. “Undoubtedly” because while you can easily find cases of cops, off-duty and on-duty, getting arrested or ticketed for drunk driving, a large percentage of those incidents involve accidents. Most non cop DUI citations, on the other hand, don’t involve accidents. Do the math. The logical conclusion is that when LEOs are suspected of DUI, they get a “professional courtesy” ride home. It’s when there is an accident, when what he or she does can’t be covered up, that a LEO gets arrested for DUI.

Though they are quite open about it when among cops, when talking to their employers, regular folks who aren’t cops, LEOs will rarely acknowledge publicly that “professional courtesy” even exists. Now, a Denver police officer who got fired after getting caught driving 88 miles an hour over the speed limit while having a blood alcohol level above the legal limit is taking cops’ sense of entitlement to a new level. Calling his firing a violation of principles of fundamental fairness, he wants his job back and his public employee labor union, the Denver Police Protection Association, is backing him in his appeal.

Derrick Curtis Saunders, an off-duty Denver police officer with a passenger in his car, was stopped by the Colorado State Patrol in June of 2010. Troopers said Saunders was doing 143 mph in a 55 mph zone and they measured his blood alcohol content at 0.089, just over the legal limit of 0.08.  One must wonder what would have happened had he been stopped by a fellow member of the Denver PD. Since it was the State Patrol, though, his home PD couldn’t ignore it. Saunders doesn’t deny he was drunk or that he was speeding excessively. In May of 2011 he plead guilty to reckless and impaired driving, paid a $300 fine, got 5 days in the county jail, and had to do 100 hours of community service. Subsequent to his conviction, the Denver police chief fired him, calling the officer’s actions “shocking”, “egregious misconduct”, and that they showed  “a serious lack of character” and “a willful and wanton disregard” for department values.” Still, as shocking, egregious, serious and wanton as Saunders’ actions were, Denver Manager of Safety Alex Martinez, waited seven months after Saunders’ guilty plea and a full year and a half after his original arrest on DUI charges to fire him.

Now I could be wrong but I suspect that in most private sector jobs, if your employer found out that you got arrested for driving over 140mph drunk, you just might get fired and if you did get fired, you’d probably have no recourse through the courts. Most people are employed at will. If you did have a legal case, you’ll probably have to pay for your attorney out of your own pocket, and you certainly wouldn’t be on the payroll for 18 months while your boss decided whether or not to fire you.

Despite the fact that he admits he was triple digit speeding drunk, Saunders and his fellow cops, through their union, think he should be back on the job so he can potentially give you tickets for DUI. Isn’t that nice? It gets better. Since the union’s funds come from dues ultimately paid for by taxpayers, those taxpayers are actually paying for Saunders’ appeal.

This is not the first time that Saunders had to be disciplined. In 2009 in he was suspended from the force after he was charged in Aurora, CO, again, by a police force other than his own, with felony menacing, prohibited use of a weapon, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct, after he dropped the race card, flew into a rage and brandished his police firearm when a McDonald’s restaurant apparently took too long serving his order. Saunders was eventually acquitted of those charges.

His current appeal of his firing over the DUI arrest and conviction was made to the Denver Civil Service Commission, filed by Police Protective Association lawyers. It argues that disciplinary action against Saunders was “unfounded and/or unsupported by the facts”. His firing, the appeal claims, was “disproportionate to the offenses alleged and/or is excessive so as to be punitive rather than corrective in nature.”

Next time you get a ticket, be sure to tell the cop who cites you and the judge who convicts you that any fine should be corrective in nature rather than punitive.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks – RJS

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107 Comments on “143 MPH In A 55 Zone While DUI, Cops & Union Want Him Rehired...”


  • avatar
    TomHend

    Unions suck, they are in decline, but still suck.

    The next to go will be the government unions. Gov’t unions can’t even strike.

    When the unions find out there is no money in their pensions and that the ponzi scheme is over, the laughs will come rolling in.

    Probably within five years the unions will be done, or when the next financial crisis occurs- whichever comes first

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      The prohibition against strikes is only at the federal level, and interestingly enough thanks to Carter. It varies at the state and local level.

      Police unions are both the worst, because they protect cops that drink and drive, murder and rape citizens, not just lazy bureaucrats that waste citizens’ tax dollars, and the most protected because their support crosses the line to conservatives less liberty oriented than Ronnie.

    • 0 avatar
      jeffzekas

      A couple of misconceptions:

      1. Contrary to the lead of this article, cops DO NOT always get treated leniently when they break the law. In fact, in California, peace officers are treated MORE harshly than a regular citizen, since, when a cop breaks the law, it is “under color of authority”.

      2. unions don’t “suck”, unless you are a boss who wants to terrorize his employees. Unions are less than 15% of the work force. They provide workers with safe work conditions, benefits, and an appeal process, when the bosses want to fire you unjustly (and yes, some bosses will fire you, if you are black, or if you won’t have sex with them).

      3. Please show me your evidence that cops “murder and rape citizens”. I have heard of quite of few cops killed in the line of duty whilst protecting citizens… Have YOU ever protected a woman being raped? Have YOU ever stopped a shooter threatening to kill his wife? Just as I thought: another doltish, uninformed, loudmouth comment.

      4. Unions gave us the eight hour work day, holidays off, and the five day work week (my grandfather worked 6 1/2 days a week). Prior to unions, cops in the early 70’s made $500 a week, quit after 5 years, and had a small pension. The union fought for better wages, bullet resistant vests, better weapons (the gang bangers had Mac-9’s against the old .38 revolvers used by cops) and a decent retirement. You think that’s a crock? Well, volunteer to be a Reserve Officer… then tell me how bad cops– and cop unions are– before you shoot off your mouth again.

      Having worked in both union and non-union shops, I can state unequivocally that having unions is better than not having them, contrary to Republican and “right to work” propagandists. And making generalizations about ALL cops, based on one stupid individual, is just plain ignorant… or as the author said, “naive”.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        How many police have stopped a violent crime? Being a police officer is a safe job, truck drivers and fishermen are the real heroes. I’m not against private sector unions, I’m against police unions. Was $26,000 ($500 a week) bad starting pay in the early ’70s? My trusty inflation calculator pegs $26,000 in 1973 at $132,477.03 in 2011. Which is not out of the ordinary current cop pay.

        Lot’s of criminals including a rapist here:

        http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/watchdogreports/at-least-93-milwaukee-police-officers-have-been-disciplined-for-violating-law-132268408.html

        These two rapists probably had a good police union lawyer:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/27/nyregion/two-new-york-city-police-officers-acquitted-of-rape.html?pagewanted=all

        There are good cops (although many of them still cover up for the bad cops), but people with guns don’t need unions.

      • 0 avatar
        JJ

        Cops make 6 figures in the US? Really? The guys who pull people over for speeding? I find that hard to believe. If you’d tell me a homicide detective would make that kind of money I might just believe you but it’d still be more than I’d expect (not because it’s unreasonable per se, but these guys are employed by the taxpayer in which case salary is usually not that great).

        A garden variety cop making over a 100 grand…wow…What does a loaf of bread cost these days, $4? Here in the Netherlands a regular cop probably makes about €30K after some years of experience. Of course that said, the chances of them being shot here is almost zero and when the cop actually shoots someone it’s on the evening news right away (cause it almost never happens). Crime that does happen is solved in only about 20% of the cases, so really it’s just drinking coffee and giving people traffic tickets but STILL…

      • 0 avatar
        vww12

        Wow, what mythology! Trying to rewrite history much?

        Henry Ford, free capitalist that he was, on January 5, 1914, cut the daily workshift to 8 hours. Quite voluntarily and union-free, I may add.

        It was also Henry Ford who on May 1, 1926, freely and on his own volition as owner cut the work week to just 5 days, with the hope that other employers would follow suit, and so he penned it on a message to the public.

        But back to socialist mythology —There are quite a few union people who probably would have had quite a successful career at Pravda rewriting history under comrade Stalin, methinks. We’ve always been at war with Oceania, haven’t we?

      • 0 avatar

        Unions gave us the eight hour work day, holidays off, and the five day work week (my grandfather worked 6 1/2 days a week).

        That’s one of the most enduring myths about organized labor that exists today. Unions didn’t “give us” the eight hour work day. The eight hour work day came about when Henry Ford figured out that he could run his factories 24/7 with an eight hour shift. He also soon afterward went to a five day, 40 hour week, because that allowed him to, with overtime, run his plants 24/7/365. So, no, unions didn’t give us the eight hour work day and the five day work week.

        Prior to unions, cops in the early 70′s made $500 a week, quit after 5 years, and had a small pension. The union fought for better wages, bullet resistant vests, better weapons (the gang bangers had Mac-9′s against the old .38 revolvers used by cops) and a decent retirement.

        What you call a decent retirement, others call a millionaire’s pension, because that’s how much it would cost to fund an anuity with that kind of payout. Cops (including corrections officers) are among the biggest abusers of disability pensions that exist, and their regular pensions are bankrupting cities, counties and states.

        Today, the average police department has quite a bit of military level arms and the increasing militarization of police forces is a troubling matter. It’s ironic because a swat team in the US trying to arrest someone on a warrant is likely to use far more force and violence than a similar team in Afghanistan would use.

        As for cops murdering and raping, you do know how to use Google don’t you? Just offhand, in the Detroit area, there have been two cops arrested for sexual assault while on duty.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        @JJ

        $100K+ is not at all unusual. Not in straight salary, it is the overtime that piles it on. And typically at double-time, not time and a half. I have a number of relatives who are police officers, and it can be quite lucrative if you are willing to put in the hours. But at least here, a regular cop making $120K is working his ass off in hours.

        Especially good gigs are the guys that work the road construction areas. That gets paid out of a different budget, so it is pretty much unlimited overtime for sitting in your car with the blue lights flashing.

        As with most unionized gigs, seniority counts for everything, which is why you see mostly older cops sitting there in the construction zones, and the young ones hiding in the bushes in the middle of the night looking for speeders.

        And note, I have a LOT of respect for police officers in general. I think they have a difficult job, do a lot of good, and deserve decent pay and benefits. But there are bad apples in every profession, and maybe the pay and benefits of all public sector employees are a little out of control. As someone said, the unions are VERY good at buying politicians.

      • 0 avatar
        MattPete

        Caveat: I know nothing about police ranks.

        Having said that, i do have information about salaries (does not include overtime or benefits):

        Fairfax Police Chief: $176,366.32
        Fairfax Police Major: $149,381.02
        Fairfax Police Captain: $118,330.99
        Fairfax Police Lieutenant: $108,037.28

      • 0 avatar
        needsdecaf

        Really? Cops don’t murder people? I goess they don’t leave their murder victims in a hot car to die either…

        http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=157021

        That search took me all of 0.31 seconds via Google.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        “2. They provide workers with safe work conditions, benefits, and an appeal process, when the bosses want to fire you unjustly (and yes, some bosses will fire you, if you are black, or if you won’t have sex with them).”

        No, employment law provides safe working conditions. Benefits all city employees enjoy. Yes, an appeals process that often protects guys like this cop or teachers who grope students. What a crock.

      • 0 avatar
        damikco

        plus 100

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        unions don’t “suck”, unless you are a boss who wants to terrorize his employees.

        My mother’s nurse’s union does. I get to hear about it on a regular basis; how it protects the lazy, incompetent, unprofessional people that she has to work with. People who would and should be fired if they weren’t protected by a union.

      • 0 avatar
        Mark MacInnis

        Unions DO suck. I say this as a former UAW member. Prima Facie evidence is this case. The greater good would be served if the union, just ONCE, would admit, “Yeah, our guy screwed up good. No way we can back him. We won’t WASTE our member’s dues money trying to save his foolish ass.” If that would happen JUST ONCE, I’d maybe change my opinion of unions. But NO….these guys just go to page one of their union manual and start with their obstructionist, legalistic, devoid-of-common-sense playbook for saving the arse of serial-offending idiot.

      • 0 avatar
        jpolicke

        3. Please show me your evidence that cops “murder and rape citizens”.

        OK, since you asked:
        http://www.newsday.com/news/rookie-nassau-cop-charged-in-rape-on-job-1.369780

        or

        http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/chattanooga-policeman-charged-with-statutory-rape-1.1430162

        or

        http://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/off-duty-nypd-officer-arrested-on-rape-charge-1.1640219

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        Well put, Mark. Unions can only really exist in a world where everyone plays their game, trouble is worldwide no one else does. One of the byproducts of globalization will be their slow demise.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t even pay attention to this type of “news” because these stories of isolated incidents always tend to be used by the anti-union crowd to attempt to undermine all unions regardless how good or bad they are.

      I’m more angry with someone driving intoxicated than someone speeding. In most states, there are large swaths of road where being limited to 65 is stupid because #1 cars can handle/brake better than ever now and it’s a waste of time being FORCED to drive under 60. I think it would be more fair to allow drivers to drive 65- 80 in the left most lane.

      • 0 avatar
        KalapanaBlack

        In relation to the story, if he were driving less than 100 mph, I’d say you have a valid point (the DUI notwithstanding – the two offenses combined are inexcusable). However, nearly three times the posted speed limit? How does this man still have a license???

        Wonder if they’d put a blow-n-go into his cruiser?

  • avatar
    thirty-three

    “Now I could be wrong but I suspect that in most private sector jobs, if your employer found out that you got arrested for driving over 140mph drunk, you just might get fired and if you did get fired, you’d probably have no recourse through the courts.”

    I disagree. In Canada, it’s difficult for an employer to terminate an employee *with cause*. The courts tend to favour employees when they challenge being fired.

    Termination without cause is different, but again it can be challenged, and people have successfully tied their dismissal “without cause” to an event they believe was related (e.g. a DUI).

    Cops are (and should) be held to a higher standard because they are the people we trust to uphold the law. I understand the reasoning behind professional courtesy, but I wish to be held to the same standard that cops hold each other to.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      “Now I could be wrong but I suspect that in most private sector jobs, if your employer found out that you got arrested for driving over 140mph drunk, you just might get fired and if you did get fired, you’d probably have no recourse through the courts.”

      As an engineer working in the private sector, I agree. My employer would probably have me attend rehab classes, etc. (“get help”), and if I didn’t get significant jail time, I’d still have my desk job. Only somebody else would be driving me to it.

      But my job doesn’t involve public safety or require a driver’s license to perform my duties; those situations might be different.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I think if you got fired over a DUI and your private sector job did not involve driving, you would have one Hell of a wrongful termination lawsuit. What you do on your own time is none of your employer’s business, unless it somehow effects your job. Obviously, if you are a truck driver and get your license pulled for DUI, you can lose your job. Or jail time meaning you can’t come to work.

    Not that I am in any way disagreeing with the “professional courtesy amoung cops is ridiculous” idea, mind you.

    I think unions are a fundamentally decent idea that goes astray due to the fundamental greediness of humans – it is always “us vs. them”, not “let’s work together and make it better”. In my field, I often think that a certain amount of unionization would not be a bad thing. There are an awful lot of techs who are overworked and underpaid (I am NOT one of them, but I see it at clients). Yet at the few union IT shops that I have encountered, it seems that the ridiculous work rules that go with the protection, and the inability to prune deadwood destroy much of the value that unions can bring. Surely there is a happy medium? The Europeans seem to do this better than we do. Strong unions without destroying the company or workplace environment.

    • 0 avatar
      redrum

      I think if you got fired over a DUI and your private sector job did not involve driving, you would have one Hell of a wrongful termination lawsuit.

      Replace “involve driving” with “have a morality clause” and you’d have a point, otherwise I completely disagree. I know that at my current job (working for a large corporation) you can be terminated for any reason not specifically protected by law, up to and including off-the-clock behavior. In fact, a manager at my office was involved in a domestic dispute last year that escalated into a confrontation with the cops that made the local newspaper; he was fired within a couple days.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        As with most things legal, this varies wildly by state. Personal experiences:

        At my former employer, the person who I replaced had been fired. He had a long history of sub-standard performance, not showing up on time, not being where he was supposed to be and generally being a lousy employee. The final straw was he rented a car on the company credit card, kept it for a month over time (to the point that the cops were looking for him, the rental agency reported it stolen), and wrecked it. It was supposed to be a one-week rental for a specific trip. He sued for wrongful termination and won, and recieved a sizable settlement. He did not get his job back, but that is rarely the point of wrongful termination suits, why would you want it back at that point?

        Same employer – fellow employee gathers us all in the conference room to tell us that he has being indicted on child pornography charges, and wanted to tell us before we saw it on the news. Most of my coworkers vowed that they would quit rather than continue to work with him. Our legal person flat out said the suspect could not be fired for this, even if convicted, until such time as he went to jail and could not perform his job. That person voluntarily quit rather than work in that environment. He was eventually convicted and did 5 years at Club Fed. Morality clauses are very, very unusual in this state (other than teachers), as are individual employment contracts in general.

  • avatar
    redliner

    It’s that 10 percent that ruin it for the rest of the genuinely nice officers. I would be embarrassed to ask for my job back after something like that. Does this individual have any self respect at all?

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      It is the whatever percent of “good” cops – I’m not giving you 90 percent, that enable this behavior, with union dues, and by following the same “no-snitch” policy as gangbangers:

      http://reason.com/archives/2011/01/25/why-cops-arent-whistleblowers

      • 0 avatar
        NotFast

        What’s the difference between cops and the Mafia? The Mafia has better suits.

      • 0 avatar
        jeffzekas

        so, next time you get mugged, call a gang banger, since you hate cops so much…

      • 0 avatar

        Jeff, like the saying goes, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away. Well, that is, unless they’re like the “first responders” in California that let a guy drown because they claimed to not have the right training or equipment or some such bureaucratic nonsense insisted upon by their union or agency or both. Cops and their unions have gone to court to preserve their immunity from lawsuits for failing to protect people.

        So getting back to cars, I know a really nice lady, Denise McCluggage. Denise is in her 80s now and still works the major auto shows as a writer and photographer. She has a blog at denisemccluggage.com. She wrote for the buff books in their heyday and before that, in the ’50s, she raced (competitively) with people Phil Hill and Sterling Moss. When I asked her if she was coming to the NAIAS, she said yes, but that it would be nice to use a Segway to avoid all the walking. I checked and told her there was a place in the Detroit area that rents them. She said she had looked into it and that Cobo Hall management won’t permit it.

        Okay. So fast forward to the public days of the show. I’m at Cobo to meet my daughter and granddaughter, help them see the show and take a few pics for Cars In Depth or future TTAC articles that I missed. Also, I wanted to see what cars the general public seemed to like. In the lobby of Cobo Hall, near the entrance, there was a gaggle of cops. Cops, it seems, like to hang out in bunches. I’m not sure why, they’re the ones with the guns, but there you go. So there were a bunch of Detroit’s finest standing around shooting the breeze and in the middle, there was a Detroit cop standing on a off-road type Segway. I said to him, “My 80 year old friend wasn’t allowed to use a Segway in Cobo, why are you?” He replied, with a broad smirk on his face, “Well, I’m a cop.”

        Sorry, but we don’t have two classes of people in this country and two sets of laws. Why should a healthy young man be allowed to use a Segway in Cobo Hall when an 80 year old woman cannot do the same? Any possible excuse that he could have, for example, that he might have to leave in a hurry (that’s the one that cops use when illegally parked, with engines running, while they’re at Panera getting food), is obviated by the fact that all he was doing was standing around shmoozing with his buddies in blue.

        Cops do have a tough job. A cop was killed in my daughter’s doorway a couple of years ago, the other cops tracked his blood and brains into her apartment after they broke the door down (neither the city nor the landlord ever replaced it, btw) looking for the kid who shot him. The cop was giving the kid a break and the kid took advantage.

        So I understand it’s a tough job, but statistically it’s not nearly as hard as many jobs are, and I’m tired of hearing cops, badge bunnies and holster sniffers whine about being on the job. It’s about the only job people have that lets them push back to people who give them attitude and most cops seem to relish that and regard it as a perk of the job, just like they regard immunity from traffic laws, either on or off duty.

        Is it too much to ask cops to not break the law?

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Ronnie –

        Last I checked it’s a violation of the ADA to deny someone with mobility issues the convenience of using their assisted mobility device. I’m sure Cobo hall doesn’t bar wheelchair or walker bound visitors from making use of what they need. I have no idea if a segway is an approved assisted mobility device anywhere, but I’m guessing your friend is either mobile enough that she doesn’t qualify as disabled in order to require accommodations, or she’s never gone through the process to be approved for such if she does need it. That isn’t to say that the police officer in question wasn’t being a dick if he gloated about his segway as you suggest, but I see the rules in this case as being more about common sense logistics than about abuse of power by the police. It’s likely that Cobo has a set of rules that are different for all public safety and employees/exhibitors than for visitors. Given that visitors to the auto show likely outnumber those working the show and those there to insure safety by several orders of magnitude it’s easier to say ‘no segways’ for all guests than to try to make the decision on a case by case basis. While your friend may very well have benefited from the use of one, there are plenty of people who wouldn’t even approach the need for one who would have abused the system and clogged the walkways and floor space, likely causing more wear and tear on the infrastructure of the facility and creating possible public safety issues. What happens if able bodied Bobby-Sue Jenkins decides to bring a Segway because she’s too lazy to walk and runs over someone’s four year old because she isn’t paying attention to where she’s going? Police on the other hand are going to be present in small numbers, so even if they all bring a segway, it isn’t going to create traffic issues, and if something happens with one it’s the department that’s going to face the lawsuit, and not Cobo Hall.

        As far as police vs. the law goes, I agree, it’s certainly not too much to ask that the police be law abiding. At the same time, I don’t think anyone wants to live in a zero tolerance society, not even the politicians that campaign on hard-nosed one-strike-you’re-out tough on crime policies. Now, in this guy’s case, it sounds like he already had a couple of strikes against him. What about a decorated officer though who has had an exemplary career, who makes a mistake one night and has a few too many before getting behind the wheel. Should he be fired outright and lose his livelihood and everything he’s worked for just for one night of bad judgement? I’m not for things being swept under the rug, but I can see where a department might want to handle such a manner internally, slap the guy with some unpopular work for a while and let him make up for his mistakes. I think one of the fundamental flaws in our justice system is that it too often defaults to retribution instead of rehabilitation.

        As far as where the unions come in, they likely have to represent any member as per bylaws. Sure, there will be cases where the guy seems guilty as sin and the union looks like bad guys for standing up for him. At the same time, there will be times where an officer is falsely accused and the union plays an important role in making sure that officer receives his due process and has the chance to clear his name when it might be more politically expedient for the powers that be to just make him a scapegoat and kick him to the curb. I firmly believe in the old adage that it’s better to see ten guilty men go free than one innocent man convicted, a sentiment that many of our founding fathers shared.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        so, next time you get mugged, call a gang banger, since you hate cops so much…

        Good point. I’m sure the mugger will accept my request for him to stay where he is while I phone the cops, and then wait around for a half-hour after.

        The only reason I have and will ever phone the police is to document something for insurance purposes. Anything happening live will have to be handled myself, preferably with 3″ magnum 00 buck shot.

      • 0 avatar
        KalapanaBlack

        I’ve had a stellar career. I’ve never made any mistakes (got caught doing 10 over on the highway one time in a work vehicle – on the way to work in a different city 35 miles away, with last-minute notice by my employer – and had no breaks cut). I’ve never had an accident that was attributable to me (been rear-ended twice, been t-boned in an intersection by a stop sign runner). I’ve got 6 years in my current job. If I were to get a DUI, I would not have a single break cut. BAM – lost my job. Which is why I choose not to drink and drive.

        The threat of loss can be a powerful deterrent.

        I’m sure someone will argue that my job is not as important as that of a police officer – and I wouldn’t dispute that. However, they simply should not be held to a different standard.

        A friend told me a shocking statistic a few months ago. The average DUI arrestee (I’ll restate it – average) has driven drunk over 5,000 times before being caught once. Yes, there are some out there who drive smashed and/or aren’t good at controlling a vehicle in any circumstance and receive DUIs more often, and to balance that, many that receive them LESS often. Just think – 5,000 times would be drunk driving EVERY NIGHT for nearly 14 years straight. So, no, I don’t believe that an officer in the circumstances suggested (“exemplary career…,” “single mistake one night…”) actually has a fall-back position of simply making a single mistake one night. He’s likely driven drunk thousands of times before being caught, putting everyone at risk around him just like the drunk college kids driving to Taco Bell at 2AM after a night at the bar. I would argue that he likely is less concerned with making a poor decision beforehand thanks to the professional courtesy doctrine that’s well known to civilians and even better known to LEOs.

      • 0 avatar
        Darkhorse

        The article I read said the average DUI requires 5,000 miles of driving intoxicated to get caught. Still scary!

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    The only solution is to get rid of police unions. People in the military cannot unionize, for good reason. People with guns don’t need help uniting against the citizens that employ them.

    The Fraternal Order of Police and other police unions do nothing but fight any accountability for police, while endorsing draconian punishments for citizens. The International Union of Police Associations union is even a SOPA supporter, even though it has no IP, probably to make it easier to take down citizen videos of abuse.

    On top of that police unions use their sway, and donations to rivals, to bully any prosecutors and judges that might hold police accountable. Prosecutorial and judicial elections don’t get a lot of attention, so police unions can be decisive in them.

    Police are very well paid, have a safe job (not even one of the top ten most dangerous, truck drives and fishermen are the real heroes), and get incredible benefits that nobody in the private sector get. Accountability shoudl be expected, but will not exist while the unions still do.

    By the way, I’m not fundamentally against private sector unions – they have management to negotiate with, not politicians to buy off.

    http://reason.com/people/radley-balko/articles

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/radley-balko

    http://www.theagitator.com/

  • avatar
    AJ

    Last time I was pulled over, she said it was for going 83 mph in a 65. My DD Civic has a large digital display that clearly read 73 mph. That made me sick to my stomach (still does).

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    Some police are just thugs. Pulling your gun on John Gotti might show your bravery. Pulling your piece at MickeyD’s over your food order, even if you are acquitted of charges, suggests that you are a thug. If a civilian was caught driving 140 mph drunk, they would probably get 18 months in jail, not 18 months of probation status on their job. Unions always result in lower quality performance. This illustrates why police, firemen, and teachers should not have unions. They are supposed to serve the public, not be served by the taxpayers.
    And to set the record straight, Henry Ford gave us the 8 hour workday. In a time when autoworkers made $3 a day for 10 hours, Henry paid $5 a day for 8 hours. Result- he got the pick of the workers, and ran 3 shifts in 24 hours instead of 2 shifts in 20 hours.

    • 0 avatar
      PaulVincent

      Actually, non Ford automotive employees got a little less than $2.45 per day. Plus, Henry Ford was called to testify before Congress for having the nerve to raise wages to $5.00/day. That’s how upset his competition was.

  • avatar
    NotFast

    ~ 10 years back, an ex-GF’s cop brother was DUI and flipped his car in his home town and injured himself and 2 others in the car. No tickets issued, no punishment besides self-inflicted pain.

  • avatar
    obbop

    Search and one can numerous accounts of law enforcement entering the wrong house and harming or even killing an occupant.

    Whoops.

  • avatar

    “Now I could be wrong but I suspect that in most private sector jobs, if your employer found out that you got arrested for driving over 140mph drunk, you just might get fired…”

    Nope. As others have said, unless your job is related to driving, this would have no bearing on your performance as an employee. If you were in a high visibility position where your reputation affected the reputation of your employer (I’m thinking church pastor or spokesperson for MADD), they might get you.

    But, as a desk jockey in California, you’d almost certainly have a wrongful termination suit, regardless of any “at will” status. You could retain an attorney on spec, and any small-to-medium sized company would probably settle with you rather than litigate.

    If this officer’s contract doesn’t have any specific mention of offenses that could get him fired, and he’s served his sentence after pleading guilty…it’s not obvious that an off-duty infraction having nothing to do with his Cop status (e.g. use of patrol car, badge, cuffs or gun) is grounds for termination.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      Even so, we get back to taxpayer-funded defense (vs. your out of pocket law fees for fighting your wrongful term. suit), the absurd 18-month gap between offense and termination in the story above, and the fact that most police jobs INVOLVE DRIVING.

    • 0 avatar
      Austinpowerless

      No, not “nope.” In the majority of states, at-will employment really does mean that you can be fired for any reason, or no reason at all, with the exception that the reason may not be itself discriminatory. In many states, including my own, there is no recognition of implied employment contracts either. I certainly wouldn’t take a case from someone whose firing was from a DUI in my jurisdiction, and I don’t know a single colleague who would; we wouldn’t get past summary judgment.

  • avatar
    RegistrationPlease

    They’ll have to take him back. Not to do so would, of course, be RACIST! /sarcasm/

  • avatar
    Dukeboy01

    What makes you so certain that the cops or the union, on a personal level, want this clown back? The simple fact of the matter is that if he was a dues paying member in good standing, then they’re probably obligated to provide him legal defense when dealing with job actions. You pay your dues, you’re entitled to the benefits of union representation. Coming in after the fact and denying protection to your members just because it might be politically inconvenient is, quite simply, wrong.

    The ugly reality is that if he was not a member of a protected class, he would have been successfully fired after the McDonald’s incident and this story would not be an issue.

    Oh, and taxpayers aren’t paying for his legal defense. After a public servant is paid, his salary becomes his money to do with as he pleases. I realize that civil libertardian ideologues can’t understand the difference.

    • 0 avatar

      To begin with, you demean yourself more than your ideological opponents when you stoop to calling someone a “tard”. I know retarded folks who have better manners than that.

      The thing is that his union gets their cut before he even gets his. I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t make a check out to the union, but rather his employer does so in the name of the taxpayers. Now that the state of Wisconsin isn’t confiscating union dues from public employees on behalf of their unions and now that the members have to pay dues voluntarily it’s telling how many of those union members have stopped paying dues.

      Just wonder how you’d feel if this guy got his job back and ended up giving you a speeding or DUI ticket.

      I understand that the most fundamental thing a union does is keep its members from getting fired, for any reason. Still, particularly with police unions, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for them to agree during negotiations to not protect the jobs of those who egregiously (the Chief of Police’s words) break the law (not that I think public sector unions should be legal in the first place, but that’s another kind of corruption and an argument for a different day).

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      What makes you so certain that the cops or the union, on a personal level, want this clown back?

      Mr. Schreiber has a consistent tendency to make claims that he has failed to verify, often based upon the misinterpretation of some other article that he has read elsewhere. You would be wise to verify anything that he writes, rather than take it at face value.

      I’m not aware of any poll that shows whether the former officer Saunders was popular among his coworkers or whether there is a movement among them to get him reinstated. This piece certainly didn’t provide one.

      I wouldn’t claim that Saunders is unpopular, either. What Mr. Schreiber and I have in common is that neither one of us really has any idea, either way. Where we differ is that I’m happy to admit that I don’t have the facts, and to avoid making factual representations without first getting the facts. But who needs to gather facts, when we have misinterpretation that we can use to fill in the gaps instead?

      The simple fact of the matter is that if he was a dues paying member in good standing, then they’re probably obligated to provide him legal defense when dealing with job actions

      That’s a completely reasonable guess. The union is probably obliged to defend him if he requests it, whether they want to or not. That is a sensible question to ask and it would be worth verifying.

      If there is an actual story here beyond a simple bad cop/ employment termination story, then I must be missing it. It would be nice if its author make a few phone calls and research the matter prior to leveling accusations that appear to be baseless. But again, embellishment is a whole lot more fun than is the banality of real journalism.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        Not to pile-on, but your last paragraph reminds me of something oft said by my father:

        “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story…”

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Facts: Saunders pulled a gun at a McDonalds. Saunders was caught doing 143 mph in a 55 mpg zone with a BAC above the legal limit. The police union is defending the officer and his actions, despite the risks he posed to himself and the people he took an oath to protect.

        Making this about Schreiber instead of the issue at hand is profoundly ignorant.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Making this about Schreiber instead of the issue at hand is profoundly ignorant.

        He pretty much blew it on the facts from start to finish.

        He claims that Saunders was convicted of DUI. But he wasn’t.

        He claims that the police support his being rehired. There’s no proof of that whatsoever. On the contrary, the police department fired him, and the Safety Officer who terminated him has told the media that he would want the disciplinary rules to be reformed if he is forced to rehire Saunders.

        This piece is virtually 0% accurate. You can’t read it and get an accurate sense of what happened.

        You’re ignorant to believe otherwise. Unfortunately, comments such as your illustrate how intellectually bankrupt it is inside of that politicized echo chamber of yours. You guys simply can’t be trusted to separate fact from fiction and opinion. You are so eager to editorialize that you can’t even tell the difference between accuracy and inaccuracy, which makes you gullible dupes for blogs and half-assed reporting.

      • 0 avatar
        KalapanaBlack

        “You’re ignorant to believe otherwise. Unfortunately, comments such as your illustrate how intellectually bankrupt it is inside of that politicized echo chamber of yours. You guys simply can’t be trusted to separate fact from fiction and opinion. You are so eager to editorialize that you can’t even tell the difference between accuracy and inaccuracy, which makes you gullible dupes for blogs and half-assed reporting.”

        You’re going to need a long ladder to de-mount from a horse that high.

        I think the timeline of the disciplinary action in this case speaks for itself, really.

        As far as the validity of the story, and who does or does not want the officer in question re-hired, I cannot properly assess veracity as I haven’t personally interviewed each person involed. However, many of the verified facts do play into a long, troubled history of abuse of power. Is the wording on the headline a bit inciteful? Perhaps. But that’s what keeps the lights on, and I see no real reasons to argue that any part of the article is simply made up.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Is the wording on the headline a bit inciteful

        The headline is inaccurate.

        Again, the echo chamber needs to learn that fact, opinion, and fiction are not identical to each other.

        It is a fact that he was allegedly going 143 mph in a 55 zone. That is the one thing in the headline that is correct.

        It is not a fact that he was convicted of DUI. As I noted elsewhere, he was convicted of a lesser charge of DWAI, plus reckless driving.

        It is not a fact that the police department wants to rehire him. On the contrary, the guy who terminated him tells the media that he absolutely doesn’t want to rehire him.

        No support was provided for the assertion that his fellow officers want to rehire him. One should not presume that this point is factual unless it is proven. And it wasn’t.

        No support was provided that the union thinks he deserves to get his job back. We can surmise that the union is obliged to represent his claim because he paid dues and is entitled to be represented, even if they have to hold their noses while doing it.

        So again, the story is wrong. Some folks can’t be trusted with maintaining journalistic and research standards. At this point, it is fair to ask why some of you are utterly incapable of separating data from fiction and opinion. Is it delusion, an agenda to deceive, a matter of illiteracy, or something else?

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    NWA said it best…F_CK THE POLICE

  • avatar
    skor

    New Jersey cops are the highest paid in the US. Median salary is $91K per year. With OT, special assignments(babysitting utility trucks) etc, many take in $130-$140K per year. The work week for most NJ cops is 36 hours, 9 hours per shift 4 days per week. They get 3 days off. It gets better. They have 100% coverage for medical, dental and vision. $5 copay for doctor visits and $2 copay for medicines and no deductibles. They can retire with half pay and no medical benefits after 20 years, 2/3 pay with medical after 25 years, and 70% pay after 30 years. Most departments in NJ allow police to carry forward unused vacation and sick days until they retire. It’s not uncommon for retiring cops to get lump sum payments of $200K-$300K for unused sick/vacation time. There is no minimum retirement age. A policeman in my town retired recently at the ripe old age of 46. His pension is $87K per year.

    See the Newark Star Ledger report on NJ police pay here:

    http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/09/nj_police_salaries_rank_highes.html

    The top paying agency is the New York and New Jersey Port Authority Police. In 2011, 66 PA cops earned more than $200K.

    See here:

    http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/12/66_port_authority_police_offic.html

    BTW, the tolls on the Port Authority bridges and tunnels between NY and NJ have been raised to $12.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      It sounds like policemen in NJ have a pretty sweet deal in general. The question then becomes why vilify them for being able to see the opportunity and take advantage of it? When discussions about union vs. non-union jobs pop up there are always comments made about how the pay and benefits given to unionized workers is unfair compared to those who work in non-union private sector jobs. Instead of trying to strip the union guys of what they have, why don’t the non-union folks organize so that they can improve their own situation?

      I don’t have a union to fall back on. If I don’t sell a car in a week, I don’t get paid that week. If my employer decides that everyone on staff needs to work from open to close every day for the rest of the month because we aren’t tracking to goals, I have to work open to close every day that month. I was informed of the circumstances of the job before I took it, but if a union were to form that increased pay, decreased working hours, and set the foundation for some kind of pension, I would most certainly be on board.

      • 0 avatar
        PaulVincent

        And likely unemployed – unless of course your dealership got taxpayers to shell out big time to support his business.

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        @NulloModo, I understand what you’re saying. Unfortunately, the cops don’t agree, they have zero solidarity with other trade union people…..or any other working class people for that matter.

        A few years ago, a developer put up a self storage facility near my house. First off, the developer and town planning board lied to us at the planning board meeting. They told us that it would be only 3 stories. It turned out to be 5 stories. I guess they all learned the “new math”. “One….but that’s not really one, it’s the ‘give floor’. One, two, three…which isn’t really three because it’s the utility floor….three! See, only three floors!” Well, that’s neither here nor there. What’s really interesting is what happened when construction started.

        The developer refused to use union iron workers. At the time, the union guys were getting $28/hr plus benefits. The developer hired scabs at $14/hr and no benefits. Even at $30/hr, you probably couldn’t get my ass up on that steel. Those scabs must have been some desperate mofo’s.

        The above led to picketing by the union guys. After a few days things got heated and there was some pushing and shoving and some of the union guys vandalized the crane cab.

        The local badge thugs were called, and they set up a protester tard corral with some yellow cop tape and told the union guys they would be arrested if they set foot outside the designated protester tard corral.

        The chief of police got up in front of the TV news cameras and proceed to deliver a Tea-Tard-esque lecture about how, “This is American, everyone has a right to work, and the unions have no right to push anyone around, or force anyone to do anything, blah, blah, blah…”

        Funny thing is that the above chief of police belongs to a union. Fact is that every single cop in the state of New Jersey belongs either to the PBA or FOP. There is no such thing as non-unionized police in New Jersey. The chief never had a job in the private sector in his life. He went straight from high school to the Army while the Vietnam War was winding down. He never left the US during his time in the Army. I believe his military career was spent scrubbing toilets at Fort Dix. After the Army, he was hired on the local PD while his daddy was a town councilman. The chief’s wife is school board secretary. Between the two of them, they pull in over $250K per year. This town has a population of less than 5K. The entire PD is 20 people. This chief makes more money than the governor of New Jersey.

        To sum up, even though most of these cops never had a private sector job, and belong to unions, most will have no problem union busting…as long as it’s not the cop union. Anyone from a private sector union who gets a bit too loud will end up in the tard corral. If that doesn’t teach you a lesson, you’ll end up in a jail cell. When it concerns cop, if they feel they’ve been screwed out of a nickel’s worth of OT, the union will immediately file a law suit against the town.

        Oh, and if you’re interest in the kind of cars the chief owns:

        Late model BMW 3 retractable hardtop.

        Late model Lincoln Navigator

        Late model Lincoln MKZ

        The PD also provides him with a hemi Charger that he takes home at the end of the day because he’s “on call 24/7/365”.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      Yeah, and they call up and want me to make a contribution to the policeman retirement fund.

      I tell them I gave at the office.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      Look, you are missing something here. These are relatively affluent neighborhoods that demand their civil servants live within the communities they patrol (paying at least $500k for a home). They are also hiring people to carry firearms and excercise their best judgement around school zones, during violent confrontations and in many situations where doing the wrong thing could be very lucrative. I see no problem with 6 figure law enforcement salaries. I have a waaaaay bigger problem with low police salaries (as well as low standards). Until recently NYC was on paying $26k to start, that means recruits would be lucky to live in their mothers basement and you certainly couldn’t have a family and take the job. I think a recruit getting caught robbing banks was actually one of the motivating factors in the rise to a $30-something base salary, which is still not enough to live safely in NY.

      Bad cops piss me off as much as anyone else, but the rush to condemn public sector employees lately strikes me as politically expedient (or at least “en vogue”) and not as a well thought out critique.

  • avatar
    MrBostn

    Many cops and firefighters make close to $200K here in Boston. Some over $200K.

    http://www.boston.com/yourtown/boston/boston_searchable_salaries/

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/05/06/police_pay_can_exceed_250k/

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Many cops and firefighters make close to $200K here in Boston. Some over $200K

      You’re right. Even in the suburbs north of Boston they make six figures and are usually among the top paid town employees. Some of them have found ways to supplement their income and make much more.

      Theoretically the high pay discourages corruption, but read the paragraph 7 from the above link. Yes, we have problems.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that those #200k+ salaries are going to investigators or officers. If thats the case (it is) it probably represents a lower amount of money than they could get in the private sector doing high rise safety consultations etc… Keep in mind they need to pass (actually quite difficult) tests and undergo extensive training to get to that level.

        I have a lot of friends in the NYFD, one of whom is out of a law firm. His lieutenants exam was harder than his Bar, and he’s not shy about drawing the comparison. He makes about a third less than he did as a lawyer, has been frequently injured and his life is at risk every day, he also has far greater responsibilities and just as specialized a class of professional knowledge. I’ll be shocked if he gets all the way to retirement without getting injured out to boot, and not due to pension fraud, ankles and knees go out on old guys running around broken terrain with heavy weights.

        I guess you could say he benefits from having a union here, but they don’t protect his job as well as a private attorney would in the private sector and he’s forced to pay dues. The only purely positive perk he’s gotten is an uptick in time off, but then he works 12-24hr shifts every week so…..where’s the beef with 6 figure salaries? Oh yeah, and he looses it all if he drug tests positive for novocaine or a day or two out of a painkiller prescription.

  • avatar
    George B

    The logical sequence of events one would expect would have been DUI AND reckless driving = suspended drivers license. Suspended drivers license AND job that requires driving = can’t do job. If you can’t do the job, then you don’t get paid. Miss work long enough and someone else who can do the job is hired to replace you. Totally illogical to keep an employee on the job who has either lost a license required to do a job or should have lost that license due to gross misconduct.

    The police officers I’ve talked to here in Plano, TX appear to be reasonably professional. Then again, Plano attempts to recruit officers with 4 year college degrees and probably doesn’t have to deal with racial quotas. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-09-17-police-education_x.htm Requiring years of college or military service helps weed out people with no clue what the phrase “law enforcement professional” should mean.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      It’s interesting how many people who consider themselves to be conservatives believe that the problem with police is that, “The liberals force them to hire non-whites.”

      Before affirmative action, the only way to get hired on a police department in New Jersey was through nepotism or crony politics. Now the only way to get hired is through connections or affirmative action.

      Did you know that the courts have ruled that police departments can deny an applicant a job for being too smart? Don’t believe me? See here: http://www.nytimes.com/1999/09/09/nyregion/metro-news-briefs-connecticut-judge-rules-that-police-can-bar-high-iq-scores.html

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        It’s not about race. Employers should be able to hire the best available applicants for a job and be able to fire workers who can’t do the job. The experience of my home city is that you can set high standards for police officers. It is insane to set low standards just to achieve “diversity”. The better solution is to expand the recruiting pool to include people with relevant military experience.

  • avatar

    This is a car blog, right? I can’t believe your post left out the single most important bit: The dude was doing 143 mph in *his friend’s Infiniti*. Wonder how the buddy felt after that.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    This guy should not be carrying either a badge or a firearm.

    I would be interested to see how civilians who committed similar offenses were punished by the system. I suspect that he got off lightly in the DUI situation (where was the charge of reckless endangerment?), and am baffled as to how he walked away from the brandishing charge (should have been captured on McD’s video equipment.)

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      I think there must have been a zero missing from the reported fine. $300 for a DUI? Last time I was in traffic court (early 1990s) the fine in my area for a DUI was in the neighborhood of $1500, plus court fees whatever jail time you got.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        $300 for a DUI?

        No. Contrary to the claims of this piece, it would appear that Mr. Saunders pled guilty to a lesser charge of DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired), plus reckless driving. He was not convicted of DUI. The DWAI conviction is referenced in the disciplinary report attached here: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/download/2011/1229/30097095.pdf

        Here are the state’s penalties as of July 2011. Whether these were the same as of the date of his sentencing two months earlier, I don’t know: http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/olls/PDF/COLORADO%20DRUNK%20DRIVING%20LAWS.pdf As of the date of this report, the fine for a first DWAI offense would have been $200-500.

  • avatar
    manu06

    His union is required to represent him. To refuse is a violation of Federal law. His dues are taken out of his
    paycheck. If he isn’t a union member, his paycheck is not deducted for the dues. Unions in this respect are
    Like lawyers, everybody hates them until they need one.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      “His union is required to represent him.”

      And this is because he had no choice as to whether he could opt out of joining the union.

      Ain’t unions great? Union rules forced him to join and pay union dues, and regardless of his crimes, the union is forced to defend him.

      Gives new meaning to “To serve and protect”.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    This article started out as relevant for a car website, but its author and our best & brightest have done a fabulous job veering it off course into a favorite political axe-grinding session.

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    I found a vid of the cop’s first offense…lmao

  • avatar
    Jellodyne

    “Since the union’s funds come from dues ultimately paid for by taxpayers, those taxpayers are actually paying for Saunders’ appeal.”

    Since the union dues come out of the officer’s take home pay, it’s not the taxpayers’ money. Same goes for teachers. Once you’ve paid the officer or teacher or anyone else, you no longer have any right to bitch about what they choose to do with the money. It’s THEIR money, THEY earned it. I can’t believe I need to explain this to conservatives, this is your philosophy. But somehow if they chose to give it to a union, suddenly it’s YOUR money again.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but police officers and teachers have no choice as to whether they will join the union and pay dues. By accepting that job, they are required to join the union and pay union dues.

      Likewise, regardless of the egregious/illegal/immoral behavior of union members, the union is required to defend them if so requested by the member.

      Another example of common sense being thrown out the window in favor of the unions.

      • 0 avatar
        Firestorm 500

        They do have a choice whether to join or not.

        Those who do not join and pay dues still get the benefits the union wins for their members. The non-union employees therefore freeload on the backs of others.

        There is no two-tier system for union vs. non-union employees.

      • 0 avatar
        Jellodyne

        It’s a democratic deal though. They (collectively) voted to join the union, and they could collectively vote at any time to dissolve the union. But that’s neither here nor there. The point is the money is paid to the officers, which they then pay to the union. It’s indirectly paid for by taxpayers, but you don’t feel ownership of the money they spent on, say their house or a TV, do you? Would you go into their house and watch their TV because it was ‘indirectly’ paid for with your tax dollars? Would you tell them “this is MY house and MY TV, because I paid for it?” Or is the things they pay for out of their checks only THEIR stuff and none of your concern if they spend it on something other than union dues?

  • avatar
    kkt

    I’m a union member, and I certainly wouldn’t expect much help from my union if I’d done something like that. Sitting in jail for a few months unable to work = fired.

    Most cops are great. The amazing thing is that the good ones still go out of their way to protect the bad ones that give them all a bad name.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      “Most cops are great. The amazing thing is that the good ones still go out of their way to protect the bad ones that give them all a bad name.”

      My anecdotal experience is that the majority of cops are great. I wouldn’t go so far as to say most.

      Know why? The fact that the good cops defend the bad cops corrupts to a certain degree the good cops, as their credibility is tarnished in the eyes of the general public.

    • 0 avatar
      acuraandy

      ‘I’m a union member, and I certainly wouldn’t expect much help from my union if I’d done something like that. Sitting in jail for a few months unable to work = fired.’

      A fair point. To retort: i’m NOT a union member. Sitting in jail for a COUPLE of DAYS = fired. With absolutely no recourse, especially for DUI.

      And yes, most cops are great and really do care about their communities. I happen to be friends with a few cops, and none of them would defend a guy like this, weather or not their union steward or department said to do so or not.

      It’s really sad that total d-bags like this tarnish the image of their otherwise honorable profession. Keep him off the streets with a badge and a gun.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Leaving the whole union racket aside; as long as the guy didn’t do anything wrong on the job, why fire him? What he does on his spare time isn’t really any business of an employer, after all, as long as it doesn’t materially affect his on the job performance.

    • 0 avatar
      kkt

      Anybody else would lose his driver’s license for grossly excessive speed and DUI. He should too. That would mean he’s unable to do his job.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      Since he is a trained professional in a position of authority , he is held to a higher standard. He had sworn to uphold the law. That would include not wantonly and blatantly breaking what he had sworn to uphold. He is not free to break the law when he is not on shift the other 16 hours of the day.

      Kind of like a local school board would frown upon a person being a teacher by day and being a stripper at the town club by night. Moral Turpitude clause.

  • avatar
    wmba

    I avoid reading Schreiber’s articles as a general rule, but managed to read this before I scrolled up to see who wrote it. I certainly avoid reading any of his comments on other articles. WordPress needs an ignore function.

    If this idiotic policeman had been caught here, the minimum sentence would be $2400 for stunting (30 mph in excess of posted limit), 7 day license suspension from date of conviction, impoundment of vehicle at the roadside. Then at least $600 for DUI, loss of license for a year, payment to attend anti-drug dependency course and license reinstatement fees at the end of the year, plus likely retest.

    I don’t know what happens when stunting is combined with drunken impairment. Likely a charge of criminal negligence. No license for a year, almost impossible to get insurance to drive, the man would be toast here, and rightly so. Conviction for such reckless endangerment is a career-ending move.

  • avatar
    damikco

    We all hate cops but what dose this story have to do with cars?

  • avatar
    harshciygar

    The one thing I took away from this…

    I got a harsher punishment for having $40 worth of weed, than this guy got for driving 143 MPH while drunk.

    That’s just silly.

  • avatar
    Sgt Beavis

    I know that the vast majority of cops are good people doing a decent job.

    It’s the fact that they tolerate the douche bags around them that makes them all look like asshats.

    So, FTP.

  • avatar
    cirats

    A little surprising to me that there are no comments here about his BAC being just 0.089. Instead, the original piece refers several times to the guy as being “drunk.” I’m not here to defend going 140+ mph, especially after having had anything to drink, but this idea that 0.08 is “drunk” is preposterous.

    Oh, and it depresses me how many people think you have some sort of “right” to keep your job and that an employer should only be able to fire you with good reason. Isn’t this still the USA??

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      It depresses you to think that an employer should only be able to fire you for a good reason? What kind of USA do you want?

      And for God’s sake don’t get behind the wheel if your BAC is 0.089. I don’t care if you think you aren’t drunk at that level.

      • 0 avatar
        cirats

        USA is supposed to be the land of the free, which includes the freedom of an employeer to hire and fire whomever he pleases for whatever reason he pleases (or no reason at all), modified only by laws saying you cannot discriminate against people based on race, religion and certain other protections. In my America, I can fire someone because I don’t like them, because of their off-work behavior, or any other reason.

        Honestly, it is of grave concern to me that our kids are growing up in an America that has forgotten, discarded, or actively gotten rid of most of its core values, freedoms, peronal liberties, etc.

        If you think someone blowing 0.089 is too drunk to drive safely, you must not drink or at least not know what it means to be at that level.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “Honestly, it is of grave concern to me that our kids are growing up in an America that has forgotten, discarded, or actively gotten rid of most of its core values, freedoms, peronal liberties, etc.”

        Empty unsubstantiated Chicken Little rhetoric. Some freedoms have been surrendered. Some have been gained. Seems more of a lateral shift to me. You just don’t like the direction of the shift. Others do.

        “modified only by laws saying you cannot discriminate against people based on race, religion and certain other protections.”

        Why stop there? If you really value unbridled freedom as much as you claim to, you should be able to fire someone for racial reasons. That mindset was hollering for that right 50 years ago. It’s a grave concern to me that some kids are being brought up to believe you can take a person’s livelihood for petty and subjective reasons unrelated to performance in the workplace. That you can wreck a parent’s ability to provide for his/her children because of a difference in opinion. Are those the core values you were referring to?

      • 0 avatar
        cirats

        30-mile: not being argumentative, rather, am seriously interested – what freedoms have we gained in the last 20 years? I really cannot think of any.

        On the job point, I do feel more argumentative on that one, and we’ll just have to agree to disagree. You’re premise that one is entitled to a “livelihood” to me simply is not an american ideal or a principle of liberty. If anything, it’s the opposite because one person’s entitlement is another person’s inability to make a choice. You’re entitled to PURSUE it however you want, but a job is not a property right by any stretch. What you speak of is honestly more akin to socialism or communism. To put it bluntly, not that I would do it myself, but I do support an employer’s right to take a person’s job away for petty and subjective reasons unrelated to performance in the workplace or take away a parent’s ability to provide for his/her children using that employer’s money because of a difference in opinion. Yes – these are the core values I was referring to. It’s called freedom.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        what freedoms have we gained in the last 20 years?

        If you’d like to talk about traffic laws: Twenty years ago, the highest speed limit in the United States was 65 mph, and then only in rural areas. Its enforcement could be somewhat zealous due to the encouragement of the federal government, which had tied enforcement to highway funds.

        Today, that is no longer the case. Numerous states have increased their rural limits to as high as 80 mph. (Montana even had an unspecified “reasonable and prudent” limit for a time until its state court rules it to be unconstitutional.) Urban limits have also been increased in many areas above the 55 mph limit that had been previously permitted.

        As far as intoxicants go, marijuana is heading toward varying degrees of decriminalization. Once upon a time, use and possession were felonies; today, in many jurisdictions, it barely merits a ticket.

        You might want to know that a .08 BAC limit is above the norm compared to much of the world. Internationally, you’ll find that .05 limits are far more commonplace. The issue isn’t drunkenness per se, but one of the alcohol compromising driving ability. And I’m sorry if you don’t want to admit it, but driving is pretty well compromised at .08. (While I have issues with the execution of the laws as they stand today, the basic concept of a .08 limit is not an illogical one.)

    • 0 avatar
      kkt

      I think “drunk” is the appropriate word. That’s 3-5 drinks drunk quickly, depending on how much he weighs. He may not be falling down drunk yet, but it’s definitely drunk enough to be impaired.

    • 0 avatar
      Austinpowerless

      Umm.. you do know that .08 is the BAC standard for DUI in all 50 states, right?
      http://www.iihs.org/laws/dui.aspx

      And yes, .089 is definitely drunk–not stumbling drunk, but way, way too much to get behind the wheel.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    143 mph? Was he driving a panther? If so, Sajeev will be jumping up and down and hollering: “glory be”!

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    Hey, at least he didn’t kill anyone while driving drunk. You can’t say that about some members of the Chicago PD.

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