Many of us had the experience of sitting at briefing while our sergeant read an account of a co-worker’s involvement in an alcohol-related T/C or alcohol-related off-duty incident. We sat there and, for a moment, mentally put ourselves in our co-worker’s place. After the briefing, we felt a little down and were concerned how they would come out of this incident.
For those who have experienced a DUI or an alcohol-related incident, briefings like the one above hit close to home — it could’ve been a deuce T/C with injuries resulting in felony charges looming ahead. This could cost someone their career. We all know that sworn personnel are treated differently than civilians when it comes to DUI arrest and off-duty incidents. Not only is there a higher standard, but there is a greater job nexus.
Imagine if your driver’s license gets suspended and you’re required to drive for your assignment — you’ve got a problem. Investigations can take many months to complete. A very hard-earned promotion or transfer can be delayed for possibly years from the missed opportunity.
When law enforcement personnel get arrested for DUI or are involved in an off-duty incident when they have been drinking, it does not necessarily mean they have a drinking problem. Perhaps everything was correctly done, but alcohol opens the door for scrutiny! However, if the deputy does have a drinking problem, the chance of a DUI or alcohol-related off-duty incident increases significantly. If we have alcohol in our system frequently and have a drinking problem, we are taking chances that could be devastating to our career and life.
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, Deputy Braggs, Substance Abuse Resource Program (SARP) coordinator, or one of our police psychologists. As always, it can be anonymous and confidential. You may also seek out a PSB Peer Support Program member, a PSB chaplain, or a Peace Officer’s Fellowship member listed in the directory here. With help, your life can change one step at a time.