Drunk Driving Trooper an Embarrassment for MSP?
According to a number of media sources who have pursued the information, a Michigan State Trooper was recently arrested for drunk driving. While this alone is a rather unfortunate development, especially for the MSP, it has come to light that this is not the first time.
The trooper in question, Detective Sergeant William H. Smith, was arrested back on July 12th, 2012 for drunk driving. During the following year, all of the blood evidence was thrown out because of an improperly executed search warrant. And after a three day trial in June of 2013, he was found not guilty by a jury.
But not guilty in the eyes of the law doesn’t mean the same thing to the MSP. Records show that after his initial arrest, an internal investigation was conducted by the State Police Headquarters. As a result of the findings, Smith was demoted from Commander down to Sergeant.
Now, three years later, Smith is once again facing drunk driving charges. According to the MSP, he has been suspended without pay until the investigation and subsequent prosecution have been completed. As the MSP release explained, “Regardless of whether a criminal charge results in a conviction, employees can still be subject to administrative penalties resulting from violations of department policy.”
According to new media sources, Smith was off-duty at the time of the most recent incident, and the arrest was made by other troopers from the Seventh District Headquarters – the same post where Smith is stationed.
In response to public inquiry, the following press release was made public by the MSP. “The Michigan State Police is confirming than an enforcement member assigned to the Seventh District Headquarters was arrested on July 8, 2015, on suspicion of operating while intoxicated. The arrest was made by troopers from the Sault Ste. Marie Post in Chippewa County. The member was off-duty at the time.”
Being arrested for drunk driving can be devastating, but for those in professions such as that of a police officer, it is often even more damaging. It can result in termination from one’s job, which means loss of revenue and difficulty in finding a new job. Additionally, the media and the public are often more ready to vilify an arrested officer than a civilian.
We hope that this situation, unpleasant and stressful as it may be, will be an opportunity for Trooper Smith. A chance to learn from his mistakes, and embark on a better future, free from any substance abuse issues and without the stigma of his past choices.