NBC Los Angeles reports that seven Los Angeles Police officers have been arrested over the past two weeks for alcohol or drug-related incidents. Three of the seven officers had blood-alcohol levels more than twice the legal limit of .08 percent.
Some of the officers were arrested after injury accidents. Officials with the LAPD had not indicated when the arrests occurred. However, the sudden uptick in DUI crashes among officers quickly prompted commanders throughout the law enforcement agency to send an email. LAPD officers were reminded of the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
“The consequences can be devastating,” the email read. “Do not risk your life or your career!”
In a written statement issued on Monday, December 19, Captain Kelly Muniz confirmed the arrests.
“The past weekend, an all-hands operation took place to craft messaging warning officers of the trend of Driving Under the Influence arrests and resources available to them.
Officers were referred to the Department’s additional training and employee meetings to prevent further incidents.
Past incidents of LAPD officers who were intoxicated while off-duty include Officer Edgard Verduzco, who in 2017 caused a high-speed crash on the 605 Freeway in Santa Fe Springs, claiming the lives of three people. Verduzco was charged with murder. He has pleaded not guilty.
Another crash involving an LAPD officer in 2018 happened when he veered off the 14 Freeway in Palmdale, colliding with a parked vehicle. The couple inside the car at the time was seriously injured. He pleaded guilty to the incident.
California Highway Patrol officers and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies face specific disciplinary actions following misconduct. The Los Angeles Police Department has been struggling with the problem of DUI incidents with off-duty officers for many years and has handled each officer and incident individually.
Some officers have faced termination in the past, while others have been reinstated after a period of suspension. Most, however, were reinstated with just a written reprimand. Both LAPD Chief Moore and former Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti told reporters that there is zero tolerance for this kind of behavior amongst LAPD staff.