Working at Psychological Services Bureau’s Substance Abuse Resource Program (SARP) has its perks, like working with great docs and having wonderful office staff. However, the unfortunate aspect is receiving private emails with information on who has been arrested for drunk driving. Although the details differ for each employee, I always reach out to any impacted employee. I’ll call the person, check on them and hope it’s not their second DUI offense. Then I’ll ask them what happened.
We all know that members of law enforcement are treated differently than civilians when it comes to DUI arrests and off-duty incidents. Someone who works in private industry can get hooked for deuce and their employer might never find out. They can go through the court system, receive their fine with probation and get on with their life. However, working in law enforcement, we stand by to take our lumps from the Department. If your driver’s license is suspended and you are required to drive a vehicle for your assignment, you have a problem.
When someone works in private industry and gets into a fight when they have been drinking, their employer is unlikely to discipline them if they are not convicted in court. If a deputy gets into a fight in public and has been drinking, regardless of the circumstance, the Department can discipline them.
It’s not unusual for incidents involving law enforcement to go public countywide within a few minutes after the event, due to social media. The impact on a deputy who makes mistakes with drinking-related decisions can be harsh.
If a deputy has a drinking problem, the chances of a DUI or alcohol-related off-duty incident increases significantly. If the deputy has alcohol in their system frequently, they will be under the influence (.08) frequently, which means the deputy with a drinking problem is rolling the dice. It doesn’t matter if you’re party two in a T/C; if you’re drunk, you can get arrested.
If any of this sounds like someone you know, suggest they seek help. They can call Psychological Services Bureau at (213) 738-3500. You have the option to speak to me, the Substance Abuse Resource Program Coordinator or one of our psychologists. As always, it can be anonymous and confidential. You may also seek out a Peer Support Program member, a chaplain or a Peace Officer’s Fellowship member listed in the attached directory. With help, your life can change for the better, one step at a time.