Friday, February 07, 2014

Officer Richardo Rodriguez Arrested for Public Intoxication

An Odessa Police Department officer has been placed on administrative leave after, the Odessa chief of police said, he was arrested and charged with public intoxication in a North Texas town.

Officer Richardo Rodriguez was placed on administrative leave with pay Tuesday after checking in with OPD’s internal affairs division, Odessa Police Chief Tim Burton said. Burton also said the department will be doing an internal investigation.

Rodriguez has been a patrol officer with the department since December 2012.
The arrest happened Saturday around 2:02 a.m. after Rowlett police officers were called out to a Whataburger at 8700 Lakeview Parkway in Rowlett, in reference to a driving while intoxicated call, Burton said. The driver of the vehicle, who was unknown as of press time, was charged with driving while intoxicated while Rodriguez was charged with public intoxication.

Public intoxication is defined by the Texas Penal code as “an offense if the person appears in a public place while intoxicated to the degree that the person may endanger the person or another.”

Attempts to get the police report from the arrest from the Rowlett Police Department were not successful Thursday.

Burton said placing officers on administrative leave pending a criminal charge was “standard procedure,” and that police officers should be held to a higher standard when it comes to following the law.

However, Burton said that in a department “made up of humans,” there are going to be times people make mistakes.

“Occasionally, with an organization this size, we’re going to have incidents,” Burton said.
Burton said he could not comment on what it takes for an officer to be dismissed from the police department, saying each case depends on “circumstances and the nature of the charges."

The incident is not the first time officers have showed up to a late-night call that involved Rodriguez.

On Jan. 27, Odessa Police officers were called to IHOP, 2973 JBS Parkway, in reference to a “disturbance” that involved Rodriguez, Maria Baeza and two other men.

One of those men, 38-year-old Jose Antonio Estrada, was charged with public intoxication and was treated at Medical Center Hospital, a previous Odessa American article stated.

The same article also stated 31-year-old Homer Gomez, of Decatur, was also charged and released on bond.

Rodriguez was not charged in connection to the case and was being investigated by the internal affairs investigation, a previous article stated.

Rodriguez was also investigated by the police department’s Professional Standards Unit in March after he and another officer, Cpl. Joshua Aguilar, reportedly illegally searched a home in the 100 block of West Mable Street and arrested a man they believed to be someone else.

Both officers were issued written reprimands and ordered to complete additional training.
Burton said while Rodriguez has been reported on in the news for several incidents, Odessa residents should not be quick to judge the department as a whole for the work they do because of one person’s actions.

Burton also said that it was too early to decide Rodriguez’s fate with the department, pending the outcome of both the internal and Rowlett investigation.

“We have to remember, a charge is just that,” Burton said. “Everyone is entitled to a fair and objective investigation as to what occurred.”

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