Red Bank police officers, dispatcher cleared in DUI case

Red Bank police officers, dispatcher cleared in DUI case

December 22nd, 2011 by Kate Harrison Belz in News

Red Bank appointed police chief Tim Christol

Photo by Patrick Smith/Times Free Press.

An internal affairs investigation launched by Red Bank's police chief states that a police officer, supervising sergeant and Hamilton County 911 dispatcher did not conspire to let another dispatcher off the hook for drunken driving.

Chief Tim Christol started the investigation Dec. 12 after an anonymous email was sent to Christol alleging that Sgt. Jamie Thompson intervened during a traffic stop where Officer Mark Kaylor was conducting a DUI test for a woman who turned out to be 911 dispatcher Erica Reid.

The email alleged that Thompson and Kaylor showed Reid "preferential treatment because of her law enforcement affiliation" and called her father to pick her up instead of taking her into custody.

But Christol said while the "appearance of the situation looks bad," Reid passed field sobriety tests before Kaylor knew her position, and that Reid's job was not a factor in the officers' decision not to charge her.

Christol's investigation shows that Thompson, Kaylor and 911 dispatcher Amanda Davis did in fact discuss Reid's position as a dispatcher during her traffic stop early Dec. 10, and also shows that her father was called to pick her up from the scene as a precaution, since she had been drinking.

Kaylor told officials that though he noticed the smell of alcohol emitting from Reid's car, Reid already had passed a series of field sobriety tests before Thompson told him she was a dispatcher.

Reid was cited for speeding and for outdated insurance that night, court documents show.

Christol said Kaylor has made 11 DUI arrests this month and has made three additional DUI stops that did not result in arrest.

According to interviews, Davis called Thompson to discuss Reid's DUI stop shortly after Kaylor called dispatch requesting Reid's registration information.

Davis later told Christol it was "common practice to notify an officer if the dispatcher knew a 911 employee was involved in the event," the interview states.

Later during the conversation, Thompson told Davis to call him on an "unrecorded line," an act for which Christol issued Thompson an oral reprimand.

"He said he was not wanting to discuss personnel matters on an open line, but the perception could very well come across that they were up to something," Christol said Wednesday.

Christol said that at no point during recorded radio calls did Davis or Thompson directly ask Kaylor to change his course of action.

"We will not tolerate impaired driving on our highways from anyone, nor will I tolerate giving preferential treatment to someone because of their position in the community," stated Christol, who added that the "standard of probable cause must be maintained to ensure fairness within the justice system."