Friday, November 12, 2010

Easton Police Officer Arrested for Drunk Driving in Clinton Township

Posted by: Noel Jones

OK, this is upsetting. Not only is Councilman Jeff Warren, Head of Public Safety, facing charges for drunk driving (and speeding) in the middle of the night, but now so is an Easton Police officer, Nathan White, according to Tony Nauroth of the Express-Times in his blog post yesterday.

What is almost as upsetting to me is something I alluded to in comments to my earlier post on Jeff Warren's DUI--this city seems to have a disturbingly lax attitude about the danger of drunk driving to others and just how bad an example it sets for the rest of the community when response measures are not strong and immediate for such a dangerous lapse of judgment for a public official--especially those associated with Public Safety.  The mayor has not suspended the officer pending his investigation--he plans no action at all until the investigation is complete--as if the Clinton officer didn't really catch his breath at .22 BAC, almost three times the legal limit of .08.

Why do we tolerate this as a community? If someone wants to take a chance of wrapping their car around a tree in the middle of

the night in some totally remote place--say, the middle of a grassy field with trees in it, then so be it, but no one has the right to risk wrapping somebody else's car around a tree. Nobody. And when our public officials make that terrible judgment call of getting behind the wheel and putting the public at risk, they need to be suspended immediately, so that the community has faith that our mayor takes safety seriously. Under the banner of "Clean and Safe" how can we continue to let these incidents slide with such leniency, as if it's really not a big deal?

I want to be absolutely clear--I criticize when I feel it's warranted and give credit where credit is due. I think Mayor Panto is doing  great job with finding waste in the budget, and has certainly come through on his promise to make Easton a cleaner city, as evidenced by the Easton Ambassadors and the expanded street sweeping program. I even feel that the police response has improved while he has been in office, but on this very dangerous issue--public officials who drink and drive--we need to see a swift, strong response so as to improve our city's reputation and set an example to let residents know that drunk driving is inexuseable, and that resident safety is a top priority--not the reputations and feelings of public officials who might otherwise be nice guys or good at their job.

I hope he will reconsider his position on this, the message it sends to the community at large, and the way that it may impact our reputation as a city.

No comments: