Feb 18

Jon Zimmerman

Do Seattle Police Officers Receive Special Treatment After They Get Cited For DUI?

by Jon Zimmerman

The Seattle Times and the Seattle PI recently reported an incident involving a Seattle Police Department lieutenant who was arrested for DUI on November 23 after a Washington State Patrol officer observed a vehicle drifting on I-5. 

Of course, while Lt. Lowe is presumed innocent until proven guilty, it is noteworthy that Lt. Lowe supervised a 42-member Seattle police detail for President Obama's inauguration nearly two months after the officer's arrest.  The news articles describe a number of disciplinary problems Lt. Lowe has had in his career, yet Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske, who may become the nation's drug czar, appears to tolerate this behavior by granting supervisory authority to Lt. Lowe.  Chief Kerlikowske also declined to comment and I wonder if he endorses Lt. Lowe's conduct. 

While the Washington State Patrol appeared to treat Lt. Lowe no differently than other suspects of DUI, it certainly begs the question as to whether police officers who receive traffic infractions such as speeding and improper lane change - or who get arrested for a criminal offense - receive special treatment by their police department supervisors. 

While other motorists who are found to have committed traffic offenses pay higher auto and life insurance premiums, arguably the taxpayers would be left to finance higher insurance premiums for Seattle police officers who get into trouble.  That, in and of itself, is troublesome. 


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