DUI Policy for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

Should officers with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office be fired for a DUI arrest? The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has a zero-tolerance policy on driving under the influence that has been in effect since Sheriff David Gee took office in 2004.

A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office that “If a deputy is arrested for DUI, they are immediately suspended without pay; and, regardless of a conviction, they are terminated or given the opportunity to resign or retire after due process.”

DUI Arrest Policy for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

The Sheriff in Pinellas County, Bob Gualtieri, notified his staff that he was adopting a similar policy in an e-mail dated November 11, 2013. The DUI arrest policy for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office requires termination from employment only if the PCSO employee registers over the legal limit of .08 or is convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). 

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has explained the new policy:

  • “Driving while impaired by alcohol or controlled substances is not only illegal, it is dangerous and causes serious injury and death.”
  • “As members of law enforcement we must set an example for our community and adhere personally to the laws we enforce. Moreover, we must do the right thing and driving while impaired is doing the wrong thing. Every person who drives while impaired makes the bad decision to do so – it is a conscious decision and a choice that disregards human life.”
  • “We have experienced more member involved DUI’s recently, this troubles me greatly and it is something that must stop. Again – the decision to drive impaired is a conscious decision and one that can easily be avoided.”
  • “Effective immediately I will no longer impose the minimum seven-day suspension for DUI’s and the consequence for any member of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office who operates a vehicle while above the legal alcohol limit of .08 percent blood alcohol content, or is convicted of a DUI will be termination of employment.”
  • “This will be automatic and exceptions will not be made for anyone regardless of rank or position within the agency.”
  • “I never want to be in the position of having to terminate anyone’s employment; however, I also do not want to be the one knocking on the door of someone’s home at 2 a.m. telling them that their loved one was killed by a DUI driver – especially one that works for PCSO. There is an easy solution to avoid any consequence of this new policy – don’t drive while impaired.”

The Previous Policy for DUI Arrests by PCSO Employees

Under the previous policy, employees with PCSO who were arrested for DUI and had no prior record would receive a minimum seven-day suspension. The General Orders allowed for a range of discipline from that minimum seven-day suspension all the way up to termination from employment.

What Happens if the PCSO Employees Refuses to Submit to Chemical Testing?

The Sheriff in Pinellas County also said that if any employee with PCSO refuses chemical testing after the DUI arrest then a member of the Administrative Investigative Division (“AID”) would go to the jail and require an administrative blow. If the employee blew over the legal limit of .08 or refused to submit then the employee would be terminated.

So what do you think – should all employees of law enforcement agencies automatically lose their job after a DUI arrest?

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