Monday, September 04, 2006

DUI arrest wasn't a first for officer

Todd Adams, the Ventura County Community College District police officer arrested while on duty this week on suspicion of driving a patrol car while intoxicated, was convicted in May of a DUI and vandalism.
Adams paid $2,626 in fines in connection with the two convictions, according to Ventura County Superior Court records. Adams lives in Oxnard and was arrested by Oxnard police in December 2005.
California Highway Patrol officers arrested Adams again at gunpoint at 3:55 a.m. Thursday along eastbound Highway 118 near Simi Valley. Adams was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance and driving while intoxicated, according to the CHP. Capt. Cliff Williams, commander of the CHP's Moorpark office, said a police dispatcher had broadcast a notice that a police car was seen weaving around. Williams said Adams failed a series of roadside sobriety tests. He said CHP officers drew their guns after pulling Adams over for their safety and that of Adams because they knew he was on duty and armed.
James Botting, Adams' boss and chief of the Ventura County Community College District's Police Department, declined to comment about Adams' most recent arrest when contacted this week, saying only it was under investigation. As to Adams' conviction in May, Botting said he knew about it.
Botting referred all questions about the district's policy on the conduct of its police officers to Patricia Parham, associate vice chancellor of human resources. The district employs 18 sworn officers. They are charged with investigating crimes and providing security to district students, faculty, staff members and visitors at Moorpark, Oxnard and Ventura colleges. While they work for the district, these officers have the same powers as other police officers.
Applicants to the district's police department must pass a thorough background investigation, Parham said. As with other police officers, they must be of good moral character and be free of any felony convictions.
As part of this, the district hires investigators to do background checks on candidates.
As with Botting, Parham would not comment on Adams' conviction in May and what steps, if any, the district took because of the conviction. They also would not say how long Adams has worked for the district.
But Parham said she would recommend in general that any officer who's been convicted of a DUI be evaluated by an outside doctor to determine whether he or she was "fit to come back to work."
"While this is not a written policy, it's something that I would recommend," she said.
Parham said the district also provides counseling for employees who have substance-abuse problems. And while police officers are subject to drug screening before they are hired, the district conducts no periodic drug screening after they are on the job.
As with police officers throughout California, officers working for the district are protected by the Peace Officers Bill of Rights. Among other things, the 1977 law provides police officers with the right to see — in advance — anything derogatory placed in their personnel files.
Mary Anne Rooney, who chairs the district's Board of Trustees, said she's comfortable that the district is following the law with regards to its treatment of Adams.
Larry Miller, the board's vice chairman, said he's confident Botting "is working closely with the appropriate authorities to determine the facts of the case regarding Officer Todd Adams."
Miller said he hopes Adams has good union and legal representation. ********************************************************* I think all officers should have to take a UA at least a few times a year...I wonder how of them would test positive.