Regardless of jurisdiction, every police office must obey the letter of the law that they themselves are sworn to uphold. No ifs, ands or buts. As a former New Jersey municipal prosecutor, I have every respect for our men and women in uniform, but as a DWI defense attorney I am troubled by reports of police officers or other law enforcement professionals who break the law themselves.
All I can say is: When will these individuals realize that they need to be doing it better and cleaner than anyone else? As citizens, we all expect our public servants to provide good examples to us and our children. Recently, a news article once again reveals how even the best cops can risk losing it all for one too many drinks.
According to reports, a Port Authority police inspector has been suspended following her arrest in Morris County for drinking and driving. Captain Susan Durett, the highest-ranking female officer at the Port Authority Police Department was arrested around 10pm on a Friday night last month when another motorist called police to report a possibly intoxicated driver on Shunpike Road.
Responding to the call, police located the suspect’s vehicle, which was traveling very slowly and crossing several times over the center line of the road, according to the police report. After being pulled over, Durett was given several field sobriety tests, which she apparently failed as officers then placed the suspect under arrest and brought her to police headquarters for processing. No blood-alcohol content (BAC) results were available at the time of the news article.
Based on reports, the 30-year veteran of the Port Authority police was suspended with pay and assigned to administrative work with no gun or badge, according to a Port Authority spokesman. Durett has been the department’s highest-ranking woman since 2004 and she serves as an inspector, reporting to the assistant chief. The current length of her suspension was not known when the news reports came out.
Port Authority police inspector suspended after drunken driving arrest in Chatham, NJ.com, March 25, 2010, 6:39PM