Monday, May 23, 2011

One year later: Tempe police officer's certification revoked

A state board has revoked the certification of former Tempe Officer David French, a retired Marine gunnery sergeant who had served five combat tours and was said to be suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome.

French, 41, fled from Surprise police after a chase last July and was subsequently charged in absentia with Unlawful Flight from a Law Enforcement Vehicle, a felony. French, a 20-year Marine veteran who was in the midst of a divorce, led a squad in a deadly battle of Fallujah, Iraq, according to reports.

He is believed to have left Arizona.

By revoking French's certification, the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board last week banned him from ever serving as a police officer in Arizona again.

French's wife recently told police her husband had been drinking heavily, was suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome and was armed with two guns.

On April 24 2010, French resigned from the Tempe Police Department in lieu of termination after he reported to duty after drinking.

The report says that French had a heavy smell of alcohol on his breath on April 22, 2010. 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. Any alcohol in an on-duty officer's system is prohibited.

He had also failed to report to work one day in January 2010 without contacting the department, AZPOST report says. French later told authorities he was "engrossed in resolving marital difficulties" that day.

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 cars and drove into traffic, the report says.

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

Attempts to find French have not been successful.

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