Since 1999, at least 55 active duty New York City cops have been charged with drunken driving while on the force. All pleaded down to nonfelony charges and nearly all remained on the job, reports the New York Daily News. That includes a sergeant who seriously injured passengers in another car, another charged with resisting arrest, and four cops who had drunken-driving convictions before joining the force. The phenomenon emerges after a spate of headlines about cops charged with driving drunk. Officer Andrew Kelly was indicted in the September death of a preacher’s daughter. The next month, Detective Kevin Spellman was charged with killing a grandmother. Both refused to submit to sobriety tests.
Since then, three more cops have been charged with drunken driving: one who trashed a department car at the Midtown Tunnel, another who flipped his luxury sedan onto the sidewalk in front of Tiffany’s, and a third who crashed into a parked car. The number of cops convicted in drunken-driving incidents is a tiny percentage of the 30,000-member force. But the incidents occur fairly regularly, year after year. Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said any cop convicted of a felony is automatically fired. A cop convicted of a drunken driving misdemeanor or violation likely keeps his or her job. In those cases, cops usually get a suspension ranging from four to 75 days, some lost vacation days, alcohol counseling and a year of probation.