As a New Jersey DWI defense attorney and former municipal prosecutor, I fully support the efforts of our law enforcement community in maintaining public safety. Everyday, uniformed men and women throughout the Garden State put themselves in harm’s way to help keep our cities, towns and villages pleasant and safe places to live and work. However, what I cannot abide is the apparent double standard that some police officers maintain when conducting their own affairs.
It is a sad commentary when a civil servant appointed by the people cannot live up to the same standards that they themselves are sworn to uphold. This applies not only to gross instances of criminality, but also to lesser infractions for which any other member of our society can be held accountable. As a drunken driving defense attorney, my focus is on helping those individuals who have been accused of driving while intoxicated, or otherwise impaired by alcohol, prescription medication (drug DUI), or even illicit drugs, such as marijuana.
Not long ago, a New Jersey State Police officer was recommended for suspension due to repeated drunken driving stops in the township of Hamilton. According to news reports, an administrative law judge recommended a 7-month suspension for Trooper Sheila McKaig in regard to the officer’s multiple drunken driving stops over a period of just three months back in 2008, and even earlier. Even though each of those traffic stops allegedly suggested suspected drinking on McKaig’s part, she was never subjected to blood-alcohol content (BAC) testing, nor was she charged with any violations.
In fact, it appears that in many of the instances she was driven to the township police headquarters so that she could be picked up by another officer and taken home. Because of her record as a “model trooper” the judge did not recommend her being fired from the force. According to news reports, in the wake of the controversy, McKaig reportedly sought counseling as well.
The facts of the matter include 10 individual instances where McKaig was stopped for DWI between March 2007 and April 2008. At the time of the news report, she remained on active duty patrolling the Atlantic City Expressway.
Suspension recommended for state trooper who was never ticketed despite repeated DWI stops in Hamilton Township, PressofAtlanticCity.com, April 22, 2011