Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ex-Tempe officer faces disciplinary hearing

A former Tempe police officer who smelled of alcohol at work and is wanted for fleeing from Surprise police has a hearing Wednesday before a disciplinary board, a report says.

Former Officer David French, who served in the military and was in the midst of a divorce, suffers post-traumatic stress disorder, his wife told investigators.

Police said he served in the military about 20 years but were uncertain if he fought in Iraq or Afghanistan.

French, 41, is scheduled for a first hearing before the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, which will decide whether to continue reviewing the case. The board has the power to deny certified status or suspend or revoke certification. This would prevent French from serving as a police officer elsewhere.

The report says that French had a heavy smell of alcohol on his breath on April 22. A civilian employee reported it, and Sgt. Mike Carleton also smelled the alcohol.

French told Carleton he had been "drinking heavily" after his previous shift ended. A breath test administered to French registered at .038, which is below the legal limit of .08, but any alcohol in an officer's system is prohibited.

He was relieved of duty that day and Carleton drove him home.

The report says that French also failed to report to duty Jan. 30, and did not notify his agency.

On April 24, French resigned in lieu of termination.

Three months later, on July 1, French fled from Surprise police after they tried to pull him over for erratic driving, the report says. French sped up and cut off numerous vehicles and drove into oncoming traffic, the report says.

A Surprise officer estimated French was traveling 60 miles per hour in a residential neighborhood.

Attempts to find French, whose estranged wife said was armed with a rifle and handgun, were not successful. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office charged him with Unlawful Flight from a Law Enforcement Vehicle, a felony.

French failed to show up for a Nov. 29 court appearance. An in-state warrant has been issued for the arrest of French, who is believed to be out of state.


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