Police Officers Drinking On Duty And The Legal Consequences

Employees coming to work after consuming a drink or two, or employees consuming alcohol while on duty and cases of employees quietly sneaking out of the office during breaks for a quick drink, are all things that we have heard off. But what happens if those who are meant to enforce the laws themselves are found drunk while on duty? Yes, we are talking about police officers here. Incidents of intoxication on duty among police officers have been on the rise in recent times.

We all know how tough the life of a police officer can be. With rising crime rates and the heightened security environment of today, they need to be ready to jump into action, almost round the clock. Theirs is a life that is therefore full of stress. Given the circumstances there have been cases when police officers have been caught with more than permissible levels of alcohol in their body, while on duty. Remember, while the rules may differ from state to state, generally the regulations governing what a person can do or cannot do while in uniform are strict, especially when it comes to drinking. Remember, police officers are seen as role models in communities, especially for children.

Role of video recordings

The increase in the number of mobile devices has had a direct impact on the increase in the number of cases of tipsy police officers in recent times. The omnipresent mobile camera has been instrumental in bringing forward several cases of police officers being drunk while on duty. Earlier on incidents such as a police officer being caught red-handed like this would not have been reported, basically for lack of solid evidence. However, now with such incidents being caught on tape, those in uniform have always become wary and are increasingly becoming careful to avoid being caught in such embarrassing situations.
According to the latest rules that are prevailing so long as someone is not interfering in a police officer’s work, it is perfectly legal to videotape any incident that is taking place in a public place. The police officer in question does not have any legal right to stop the witness from videotaping the incident, so long as the later keeps his distance from the happening.

Police Officers & DUI

There have also been instances of police officers being caught for DUI too. In such cases, the punishment for officers depends on many factors. First comes the severity of the offence. Was someone injured? How many vehicles were involved? All these questions are considered before deciding on the punishment for the drunk police officer.
In a majority of the states, such an offense by a police officer while on duty the punishment is in the form of termination. Intoxication on duty is considered a violation of a police officer’s employment contract. Depending on individual cases, there are also times when an officer can be decommissioned too. In such cases the person’s certification to be a police officer is terminated. In a majority of such cases, the officer’s themselves tend to resign, rather than face disciplinary action.

Then there is also the case of states where police officers can actually work with a certain level of alcohol. There are also some countries where it is allowed. For example, in Lebanon, police officers are allowed to work with a 0.04 blood alcohol level.

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