SANDOVAL COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico State Police sergeant was pulled over by a fellow officer for speeding and suspicion of DWI.
It happened on I-25 in Sandoval County on May 18th. The state police officer initially stopped the driver for speeding, then claims he smelled alcohol in the vehicle.
As it turns out, the driver was a fellow state police sergeant off-duty in an unmarked patrol car.
State Police Chief Pete Kassetas tells KRQE News 13 the sergeant went through a thorough field sobriety test and investigators found he was not drunk. A supervisor was still called in and the chief ordered an internal investigation.
“I’m always out there preaching don’t drive drunk, don’t drive buzzed,” Chief Kassetas told KRQE News 13. “If you consume alcohol, get a designated driver. We should be setting an example and when we’re not, that’s problematic for me.”
Kassetas said the officer who pulled over the sergeant did the right thing by administering field sobriety tests and calling in a supervisor.
“When the supervisor arrived, the NMSP employee was transported from the scene to undergo DPS departmental administrative procedures, which further determined the employee was not operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs under the New Mexico DWI state statute,” a New Mexico State Police spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.
“The sergeant was stopped and he was tested for DWI,” Kassetas explained. “He was given a field sobriety test and he passed those tests, but there was still an indication that there had been some drinking going on.”
The officer was placed on administrative leave during the investigation and has since returned to work.
“He was technically released from the criminal aspect of it, but he’s gonna face, or has faced me on the administrative part of it. And I am disappointed in the fact that it had to get to me,” Chief Kassetas told KRQE News 13.
Chief Kassetas said the sergeant did face disciplinary action for his conduct, however could not go into detail, citing personnel matters.