Police Director unhappy with officer DUI process - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Police Director unhappy with officer DUI process

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin says alcohol enforcement laws are so weak that officers can often get their jobs back.

This past Independence Day, Memphis Police Officer Corey Tate wrecked  on Old Brownsville Road.  No one was hurt, but Metro DUI officers say he reeked of alcohol and refused a breathalyzer.

Police Director Larry Godwin kicked the 11-year officer off the force.

"We are not above the law," Godwin said. "We are enforcing the law."

Less than a month later, Sheriff's deputies caught up with 17-year Memphis Police Officer Vincent Amerson on Old Getwell after a hit and run crash.

No one was hurt, but Amerson also refused a breathalyzer.

Director Godwin gave him the boot too, but he's worried about what will happen next.

"In a lot of these cases it's very disappointing," he said.

Godwin is frustrated, saying the system is built to send the officers who broke the law right back to work since they refused the breathalyzers.

"They'll go to court, they'll get an attorney, they'll say he never took the test, the charges will be reduced, they will go to civil service, and they'll more than likely get their job back because they were never convicted," he said.

Still, Godwin says he wanted to make it known the Memphis Police Department will not put up with officers who violate the city's laws of personal conduct.

"I think we have a responsibility no matter how that turns out to do what we're supposed to do on this floor, and I think the men and women of the Memphis Police Department expect that," he said.

Amerson might have a more difficult time if he seeks to get his job back.  Godwin said his personnel file shows 93 departmental regulations violations, mostly for poor personal misconduct.

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