Undoubtedly, drunk driving is of huge societal concern, given that a significant portion of fatal traffic accidents involves drivers who are above the legal blood-alcohol content limit. Statistics abound regarding the number of traffic accidents involving intoxicated drivers and can be readily and easily found. However, statistics regarding police officers who have driven while intoxicated are less easy to find and such reports are usually relegated to the news covered in local jurisdictions. What is more, there appears to be little or no empirical data regarding police DUI, which is imperative to understanding and hopefully, mitigating the problem.
Nooz Hawk reports on a decorated Santa Monica Police officer who was sent to veteran’s treatment court after a DUI.
47-year-old Roberto M. Ruiz was a decorated 10-year veteran of the Santa Monica Police Department.
On March 16th, Ruiz was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence while off-duty when he was involved in a single-vehicle accident on Sierra Madre Road.
Ruiz’s blood-alcohol content was reportedly 0.14%, which is near twice the legal limit at the time of the incident.
Earlier this month, Ruiz’s case was in court and at the request of his defense attorney, was transferred to Veteran’s Treatment Court.
Judge Kay Kun sentenced Ruiz to an outpatient alcohol-treatment program, a 3-month DUI school, mental health counseling, and 20 hours of community service.
Ruiz is on paid administrative leave from the department, which will affect his ability to testify in a murder case. According to prosecutors, Ruiz will no longer be called on to testify in the murder trial of Marilyn Pharis.
In 2015, Ruiz was decorated for his life-saving actions that helped dislodge a marble from the throat of a 3-year-old who had stopped breathing.