Officer who fatally hit man with cruiser smelled of alcohol | us news

Officer who fatally hit man with cruiser smelled of alcohol

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department say an off-duty officer smelled of alcohol after fatal crash.

INDIANAPOLIS — An off-duty police officer fatally struck a pedestrian with his cruiser and an investigator reported smelling alcohol on the officer’s breath, Indianapolis police said early Friday. INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — One person died overnight after officials said an off-duty Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer hit and killed a pedestrian. Officers were first called to the area of Southport Road, between Interstate 65 and Emerson Avenue, around 11:50 p.m. after someone called 911 saying a man in dark clothing was walking in the middle of the street and not moving out of the way of passing vehicles.

Eventually, policed learned the off-duty officer was driving his marked patrol car when he struck and ultimately killed the man, said police spokesman Lt. Rich Riddle. “We then called additional investigators to the scene to include our (Special Investigations Unit), DUI unit, FACT team (officers that handle blood draws and transport the evidence for crime lab analysis) and our fatal accident investigators,” said Riddle.

Riddle said there was an ongoing discussion of obtaining a search warrant for the police cruiser and that the vehicle would remain locked down until investigators made a decision on what to do with it. The city police department was roiled two years ago when another Indianapolis police officer was convicted of driving drunk and causing a crash that killed one person and injured two others. “Obviously there were questions after Bisard, and we are doing everything by policy in this incident to show that no officer is above the law,” Riddle said. With the investigation still ongoing, Riddle said it’s still too early to tell what will happen to the officer’s position within the department and whether or not he’ll face criminal charges.

He said once the results of the blood draw are complete — which may not be until Friday afternoon — investigators, the DUI prosecutor and management will convene to discuss the officer’s fate. “There’s a zero-tolerance policy for operating one of our (Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department) vehicles (under the influence), whether you’re on-duty or off-duty,” Riddle said. “That is the expectation of our officers. The officer would face administrative discipline even if tests showed the presence of alcohol below the legal limit, because Indianapolis officers are not allowed to have any alcohol in their bloodstream while operating a police car, Riddle said.

In the wake of the Bisard case, the police department said it strengthened crash investigation procedures and several regulations about alcohol use on the job. The department also said it bolstered its officer assistance program. “The Bisard incident certainly gave the department a real reason to stop and reflect,” said attorney Bruce Kehoe. “Whether these changes are real is yet to be seen.” Every police officer involved in a crash is now required to take a portable breath test if there is property damage or an injury.

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