Since 2008, at least 13 Fort Worth police officers have been disciplined — ranging from a one-day suspension to termination — on allegations involving driving while intoxicated or being intoxicated while on- or off-duty, says the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. The spike in officer arrests and disciplinary cases left Police Chief Jeff Halstead searching for new ways to deal with the problem.
“I wanted to see is there a better way to handle off-duty misconduct that’s alcohol-related,” Halstead said. “I wanted to do it because I know the negative impacts and the stressors internally of this job start making themselves over time into behavior or social issues or family issues. It happens in every police officer’s career. We need to get in front of the issue instead of just reacting every time a case came on my desk.” Offending officers used to be fired routinely. After doing research, Halstead revamped the approach, creating guidelines for a specific range of discipline that officers may face. Punishments now range from a written reprimand or three-day suspension for off-duty public intoxication to a 15-day suspension or termination for DWI.