A 12-year veteran officer of the Troy Police Department has been charged in a drunken driving case following a nearly three-week investigation.
An internal investigation remains underway and the officer is on administrative leave.
LaForest, 34, pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning in Troy District Court
with operating with a high blood-alcohol content, a misdemeanor that
carries up to a 180-day jail stay upon conviction, according to
Michigan’s super drunk laws.
The 34-year-old, who has been a sworn officer since 2005, had personal bond set at $1,000.
County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper said Troy’s district judges had been
considering whether to recuse themselves from the case, slowing the
process. They did so after LaForest’s arraignment, and the case is now
being reassigned to another court that hasn’t been named yet. A future
court date will be scheduled.
The investigation stems from a
traffic stop around midnight Jan. 18 when LaForest was in a pickup truck
headed eastbound on Big Beaver, near Rochester Road. Patrol officers
said they saw the driver hit a median curb twice.
approached the driver, identified her as LaForest — who was off duty —
then detected a “very strong odor of alcohol coming from the driver and
compartment area,” according to police reports.
She refused to
take a Breathalyzer test and was arrested for operating while
intoxicated, but a blood sample was taken and submitted to Michigan
State Police for analysis, police said.
The results, which
returned from the lab about a week later, indicated that the driver had a
0.27 percent blood alcohol content — more than three times the legal
limit of 0.08 to drive a car, prompting the charges.
The blood draw in lieu of the Breathalyzer test slowed the process, said Troy Sgt. Andy Breidenich.
“Most drunk driving cases where there is a blood draw take a month or
more while we’re waiting for blood results … then you have to review,
submit to prosecutors and await the signing of a warrant … then come
charges,” he said.
Troy Capt. Robert Redmond added that officers
personally handled the criminal investigation — and he is heading the
internal investigation — in an “expeditious manner,” to avoid
accusations of “stone-walling” the investigation.
“We drove (the
case) there (to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office) in person, got
blood-alcohol results from the Michigan State Police in five days,” he
said. “Also, it takes time to set a date with an attorney, so we let it
go through the proper course ... but she will be held accountable for
LaForest has been with the Troy Police Department
since 2001. She started her career as a civilian employee in various
units, then was sworn in as a uniformed officer in 2005.