MEMPHIS, TN - (WMC-TV) – On a day when state and local law enforcement announced a heightened presence seeking out those driving under the influence during the holidays, we learned 27 year-old Memphis Police officer Ryan Mendoza was accused of doing just that.
He was charged early Monday morning with DUI and related offenses after police found Mendoza's abandoned pick up on an off ramp at I-40 and Appling Road. The truck appeared to have been in a wreck.
According to court records, officers found out the driver was one of their own when they went to Mendoza's home.
"Even with all the incidents that have occurred this year, this is still not even one percent of the department," said Memphis Police Association president Michael Williams.
Mendoza is, at least, the 20th Memphis Police officer to face charges this year. Williams blamed some of them on job related stress, personal issues and a nationwide epidemic of alcohol abuse among officers.
"And it's becoming more prevalent here in the city of Memphis because, I believe, a lot of the things they're encountering," said Williams.
He said it's always disappointing to hear of another officer's arrest. But, under the law, they face the same penalties as everyone else.
Officer Mendoza was off duty at the time of his arrest. He's on paid leave pending the outcome of an investigation.