Cop Gets DWI

12/23/2011

During police training, Joseph Gaeta (a police officer) volunteered to get drunk during a DWI training class so officers could see how he responded to sobriety tests.  When he hit a .13 blood alcohol level, class ended and a fellow officer drove him home.

The story would end there if Gaeta stayed at home.

He didn't.  Instead, he hopped in his car and ultimately was involved in an accident.  Gaeta was taken to the hospital with serious facial injuries and another cop went to the hospital to cite Gaeta with a DWI.

Gaeta should be charged with a DWI - no doubt about it.  But my question is does the Police Academy have any legal blame here?  After all, Gaeta was not only on duty when he became intoxicated, he became intoxicated with the knowledge and consent of his employer.  In fact, I'm assuming they gave him the liquor.  They probably even measured his blood alcohol content. 

Yes it is true that he was under the care of academy instructors. It is also true that they  safely transported Gaeta back to his home.  But does their duty end there? 

At least arguably, it was negligent to leave him alone while he was drunk.  The academy knew he was above the legal limit and it is pretty much known that drunk people do stupid things, including overestimating their capabilities.  Did the academy have the further duty to keep him safe when he was in a drunken state and could not make logical decisions?  If the answer is yes, then what were they to do?

I'm not sure what I think.  I would be curious if this cost him his job or in any way affects his future at the police department.

Let me know what you think.