Stories about police officers being arrested for crimes are often considered to be scandalous simply because the accused is a cop. But in this particular instance the ensuing scandal includes more than just the arrested officer. According to the press release put out by the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office, the events took place as follows:
Dennis Robert Smith,an Ottawa County Sheriff’s Deputy, was arrested for super drunk driving in Muskegon last week. His exact BAC count has not been released, but sources have said that it was more than twice the legal limit for Michigan.
He was transported to the Muskegon County Jail by Muskegon police officers and booked on a DUI charge at 2:55 am. But an hour and a half later he was released on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond, and then driven home by another deputy.
According to Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson, Deputy Smith was arrested on a single count of operating with a high blood-alcohol content. But one and a half hours is not sufficient time for an intoxicated individual’s blood alcohol levels to return to a legal limit. Michigan law prohibits an intoxicated person from being released before their blood alcohol has returned to below the legal limit of 0.08.
According to Muskegon County Sheriff Dean Roesler, a number of the county jail policies were violated when Smith was given early release. An internal investigation has been opened in order to determine whether this was a matter of an accidental release, or something intentional.
A single count of operating while intoxicated with a high blood-alcohol content is a misdemeanor in Michigan, punishable by up to 90 days in jail. Deputy Smith was arraigned on May 13. As of now, he has not been suspended from his jail operation duties. A pretrial conference is scheduled for June 9.