Police officers often have the reputation of being the enforcers of the law and model citizens. For some officers this is a difficult reputation to live up to, and people are sometimes reminded that police officers are human, and do make mistakes. In a recent bout of firings, one Dallas police chief terminated the employment of five police officers who engaged in improper conduct.
Why All the Firings?
When Dallas Police Chief David Brown recently decided to fire five of his police officers, he did so with good reason. Officer Dwight Govan and Senior Corporal David Aguilar had both been arrested for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Officer Larry Ashley failed to follow department policies and procedures and behaved inappropriately with citizens. Officer Tayana McElrath lied about being sick and Officer Daniel Babb used unnecessary force during a police call.
It is true that many employees make harmless mistakes on the job, but when police officers make mistakes, these costly errors can impact everyone involved. For Govan and Aguilar, their individual decisions to drive drunk could have gotten themselves or others killed. Failure to follow department policies and procedures, as Ashley, McElrath and Babb all did in different ways, can also lead to other dangerous or legally damaging situations for citizens.
Additional results of police misconduct on the job could lead to improper arrests, mishandling of evidence, or broken chain of custody, and accusing or convicting innocent people of horrible crimes. When multiple officers are involved in a series of mistakes, this shows a general disregard for obeying the laws they were sworn to protect, and that shielding the citizens of Dallas-Fort Worth from harm is neither a concern nor a priority of officers.
All of the fired officers have the right to appeal the chief's decision to terminate their employment, which means they could be back on the job again at some point. This could mean that they will be on the streets and making more mistakes. These mistakes could include improper police behavior that influenced or compromised the criminal charges or corresponding evidence. An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney can help find officers' mistakes when they play a role in criminal charges.