Dallas Cops Guilty Of DWI Could Lose Their Jobs
For those who are normally in the business of catching drunk drivers, police officers in Texas now face stricter punishments when they're the ones caught behind the wheel after drinking. These tougher punishments include mandatory suspensions, but also carry the risk of the officers losing their job as well. In Dallas, just in the past five years, 21 officers have been fired for being involved in alcohol-related incidents.
The new punishments don't automatically require the officers to lose their jobs. However, the state Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education's policy does require that they lose their badge for some period of time. The new policy changes say that those convicted of a misdemeanor can temporarily lose their badges (there is no change in the policy for those convicted of felonies, in which case you lose your badge entirely).
In addition, the type of misdemeanor has an impact on the punishment. Class A misdemeanors require that police officers lose their badge for 120 days, while class B misdemeanors require a 30-day suspension.
Different police departments handle firings, suspensions and reinstatements differently, too. In Dallas, officers convicted of driving drunk are automatically fired, but the Houston and Austin police departments will sometimes offer second chances to their officers who are convicted of DWI.
Some police departments have reacted negatively to the policy change. However, just like all citizens facing DWI charges, they are innocent until proven guilty, they have the right to defend themselves and to face their accusers, and before they can be convicted, the state still has to convince a jury of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.