Memphis police officers charged with DUI will get second chance - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

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Memphis police officers charged with DUI will get second chance

By Lori Brown - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis Police Dept. Director Larry Godwin is giving officers arrested for drunk driving a second chance under a new policy issued last month.

Previously, any officer charged with an off-duty DUI would automatically be fired.

Now officers will automatically be suspended for a minimum of 15 days. They will then be required to sign a letter which states that if they're arrested again for DUI, they will be terminated.

Finally, they will be required to attend counseling.

Mary Page, a former president and current volunteer with Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, supports the Memphis Police Department's new DUI policy.

"We don't want to see anyone lose their jobs, we just want them to not drink and drive," she said.

Page's 15-year-old son was struck and killed by a drunk driver while riding his bicycle in 1993.

Page is in favor of the policy because of the counseling requirement.

"We're excited to think they're going to get counseling because that's one of MADD's primary goals is for people to get help with DUI's," she said.

Some are questioning the timing of the policy change, which came just over a week after Major Prentiss Jolly was charged with DUI after he sideswiped another car.

Jolly was also charged with DUI in 1990, but later rehired because he wasn't convicted.

Godwin says Jolly, who hadn't recieved counseling previously, will now get a chance to meet people like Page.

"I think we've changed some lives," she said.

Memphis Police Association President J.D. Sewell points out that the new policy will save taxpayer dollars. He says officers not convicted of DUI often appeal their terminations and get their jobs back after a costly process.

Sewell says the program is a step in the right direction, but he says an officer shouldn't be suspended until he or she is proven guilty in court.

Ten Memphis officers have been arrested for DUI this year.


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