The Fort Worth police chief is taking a hard stance against drinking and driving. Thursday he vowed to fire any employee arrested for DWI.
In the past month, two prominent Ft. Worth police officers have been stopped for drinking and driving. The former chief of staff was arrested in December and on Wednesday a DWI enforcement officer was taken to jail.
Thursday, Ft. Worth Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead held a news conference to announce he's had enough. From this point on, Halstead says he will fire any employee arrested for DWI.
"You cannot drink and drive any longer unless you want to throw your career down the drain. I will not tolerate it," Halstead said.
"Being fired on suspicion or just being fired because you're being charged and arrested doesn't really dovetail with the American system of justice," said Charley Wilkison of the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas.
Charley Wilkison of CLEAT, the advocacy and labor union for Texas officers, says no officer should be drinking and driving, but he believes those arrested deserve the right to defend themselves.
"I can just say thank God that Texas has chapter 143 state civil service," said Wilkison. "So, Ft. Worth officers will be able to avail themselves to an appeal and clear themselves."
Austin police officers arrested for DWI are placed on restricted duty or administrative leave until the conclusion of the administrative investigation.
According to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education five APD officers have been convicted of DWI since 2000.
Two received the maximum 10 year suspension of their peace officer license.
Bill Lewis nearly lost his daughter in a DWI crash. The Mothers Against Drunk Driving lobbyist supports all police departments taking the same strict policy as Ft. Worth.
"They are the police officers. They are the people we have hired at no small expense to enforce the laws against driving while intoxicated so surely we're not asking too much to ask them not to drink and drive themselves," Lewis said.
TCLOSE recently upped the required suspension for officers who are convicted of DWI.
They will now get their licenses suspended for a minimum of 120 days