Reaction to St. Louis County police officer drinking, then driving patrol car

5:36 PM, Sep 2, 2011   |    comments
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By Kathleen Berger

St. Louis (KSDK) - In response to viewer concerns about a story we aired Thursday night, NewsChannel 5's Kathleen Berger followed up on the story.

Luke Lamb was ticketed by an off-duty St. Louis County police officer on August 20. He says the same night he was pulled over, he later saw that officer drinking, then driving his patrol car. He caught it all on tape.

County police say there's no written policy against it, and that's what has viewers outraged on our Facebook page!

A police spokesperson says it's only unlawful if the officer's blood alcohol level is above the legal limit.

Lamb, from Greenfield, Illinois, rolled video of the officer wearing a green shirt, drinking from a bucket at a mixed martial arts fight.

Lamb was ready when the officer and a female passenger left in his patrol car.

On video, Lamb chases patrol car yelling out, "Is that you officer? Oh yea, run, run, run. We got the camera on you buddy. Ha ha ha ha we got you."

Lamb filed a complaint with St. Louis County Police, but admits he doesn't know how much the off-duty officer had to drink.

Here are some of the response on our Facebook page: "Give me a break man, taking a squad car to a bar???", "Ok, so the tax payers pay for the gas in the cop car for him to take a date and drink???", "No policy prohibiting an off-duty officer from drinking and driving his PATROL CAR so long as he is within the legal limit?! Are you kidding me?!

Police gave us a copy of the "Countywide Resident Officer Program" that allows them to take their patrol cars home, and drive them off-duty.

The only mention pertaining to public behaviors is this: "The officer shall be properly attired while off duty and operating a department vehicle."

Because that officer may respond to a call, it reads: "Officers shall not wear clothing that deters from police image or is offensive to the general public." The officer's passengers are required to dress properly too.

But there's nothing about alcohol or public drinking.

A spokesperson for St. Louis County Police says the resident officer program has been in place 35 years, and never has there been an issue raised about this policy or program.

The Bureau of Professional Standards will investigate this allegation, and upon completion of investigation, present the case to the chief of police. The chief would have to determine if the officer's behavior was improper.

As NewsChannel 5 was told, this issue has never been raised before, so a police spokesperson said that changes or additions to existing policy would be open for discussion.

Check out our Facebook page to read other comments about the story.


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