Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One For The Road, Officer?

(Update at Tam's).

There was a tragic mid-day traffic accident last week -- a police officer responding to a call hit two motorcycles, killing one rider and seriously hurt two others. Video of the vehicles alone looked gruesome -- motorcycle wheels tied in knots, the rest of the bike so twisted it was hard to tell what was what; even the police car was badly torn up.

Speculation was wide-ranging -- was the officer distracted by his computer? Did he have his lights and siren on (yes) and were the motorcyclists able to hear his approach? Was there another car involved? Children in the road?

None of the above. Word from the prosecutor's office has it the officer's blood alcohol level, routinely checked any time there's an accident, measured 0.19. On duty. And Indiana's like the other states: you're legally drunk at 0.08.

This is one officer out of a very large police force. Still, it's not lookin' too good for IMPD; you put on that uniform, you're a symbol. It might not be fair but that's how it works -- and most LEOs live up to it.

Some don't.


pdb said...

"The Marion County Prosecutor's Office is currently reviewing the facts pertaining to the accident involving IMPD Officer David Bisard. The office is considering information from the crime lab and other sources. Tomorrow, you can expect an updated statement from the prosecutor's office regarding the status of the case."

What a crock. If that had been any civilian other than Ofc. Donut, they wouldn't be "considering" squat. The drunk would already be IN JAIL and charged with 1 count of murder and 2 counts of attempted murder. "Administrative duty"? Are you kidding me?

This double standard is stupid, insulting, and dangerously corrosive and we need to end it.

Roberta X said...


perlhaqr said...

I'm kind of surprised they even checked BAC on an Only One.

Anonymous said...

No nice lady. Some live up to it. Some don't. the rest provide cover. Reported on WXNT there was a two hour delay before the BAC???

Roberta X said...

Could be; but it is SOP to check blood alcohol of police involved in traffic accidents. Doesn't seem to have been much of a deterrent.

Old Grouch said...

Cops and pro athletes: The prosecutors love 'em.

Matt G said...

I know of an instant where a local deputy that wrecked his patrol vehicle while drunk and got charged (and convicted) with DWI. I haven't ever seen another officer intoxicated while on duty.

With regard to the "considering" thing-- they're likely looking more at the legalities of the evidence collection, whether the charge will be DWI, Intoxication Assault, or Intoxication Manslaughter. (or whatever passes for those charges in Indiana.)

If you know that you'll be able to find the guy and don't need to worry about his absconding, it's not too unusual to just present the case to the grand jury and let them be the heavies who issue the warrant for his arrest. That's not uncommon with cases involving police and politicians where the issue is avoiding the appearance of conflict of interest. ("Well everybody knows old Joe in I.A. always was jealous of old Drunken Officer Bob.")

This ain't gonna be a cover-up. This is going to be a case of IPD slamming their former cop, and distancing as much as possible.

Matt G said...

Oof. One fatality, two critical. Okay, the blood draw was mandatory, unless IN is more backwards even than Texas is. (That's possible, I suppose)

Tam said...


What's got me steamed here is the officer's previous driving record, which seems to indicate that this may have been an ongoing problem that has just been luckily non-fatal to this point.

Would UPS still let someone drive one of their trucks who'd racked up such an impressive collection of fences, light poles, and retaining walls?

Anonymous said...

I want to see if the union will fight for this guy.


Roberta X said...

I want to se if they'll fight to win -- there are a certain number of things they are bound to do, just like the City/County was required to check BAC. But will the police union push it, or just do the pro forma protest when GIMP hangs him out to dry?

Montie said...


I hope they pursue exactly the same charges as they would for any other drunken driver involved in a vehicular homicide. I have absolutely no tolerance for this type of thing.

I have known officers who, by virtue of job stresses, oftentimes combined with the tremendous stress the job puts on homelife, have turned to the bottle for relief. Most of them have been able to separate it from the job and when it gets to where they can't, they are either turned in by other officers or turn themselves in to get help.

The last cop I knew locally who had a similar problem worked with me on a federal task force and went (off-duty) to a local annual festival known to encourage lots of beer drinking. He got drunk, but unfortunately was in his unmarked police car and had an incident on the way home,resulting in his being stopped by an on-duty marked unit. He went to jail for DUI, lost his position on the task force, and underwent massive departmental punishment, but managed to hang on to his badge.

Most cops have very little tolerance for cops who not only make us look bad but endanger us and the public by their very presence.


Yes, "administrative duty", but that can mean anything up to, "we're gonna pay you 'til we can fire you because we legally have to, but don't show your face at the station...oh, and give us that gun and badge.

Roberta X said...

There is no question in my mind, Montie, that is is dreadfully stressful work, nor that some are overmastered by it; I don't expect officers to be supermen. The real test is, what do they do next. And I 'spect we're of like mind that this fellow did the wrong thing long before he struck any motorcycles.

pdb said...

Bisard was charged this afternoon with seven felony counts of drunken driving and reckless homicide in a deadly accident involving two motorcycles last week.

And he's free on $10000 bond. I reiterate: Crock.

Roberta X said...

Maybe, maybe not. The prosecutors office -- much as I distrust Carl Brizzi -- is in a position to have more info about a local LEO than they are most other perps.

Tam caught the obligatory walking-to-court TV coverage this morning and reported the guy had the kind of look that made her suspect he might go home and eat a gun.

Matt G said...

PDB-- they threw the book at him. 7 counts. They arrested their own guy. They have a list of witnesses that is a who's who of the department crash scene and those on scene.

The arraigning magistrate set the bond, to see that he comes to trial. Without evidence issued that he might abscond, $10k is only a little low. Initial bond setting is not about punishing the guy-- it's to get him to come to trial. If the magistrate wants to, he could P.R. bond him. Or set bond at $100. Whatever.

I've seen plenty of other guys walking around free the day after their Intox Assault or Intox Manslaughter cases.

If he does anything stupid, he'll have his bond revoked.

If he goes to trial (and really, what has he got to lose by doing so?), he'll do a lot of prison time before this is done. I predict 10-20 years.