DUI officer found passed out in car at bar avoids arrest - WKRN News 2

Franklin DUI officer found passed out in car at bar avoids arrest

Posted: Updated: Jan 24, 2014 09:54 PM

A Franklin DUI officer is now the source of controversy after being accused of being drunk and passed out behind the wheel of his private vehicle in November.

Officer Brent Rose has since admitted to his mistakes and has been internally reprimanded by the Franklin Police Department; however, questions remain as to why he wasn't arrested and charged with DUI the night of the incident.

According to a police report, Rose drank multiple Jack Daniel's and Coke drinks at Losers Bar and Grille on the night of November 2 before driving to Tin Roof 2 around Midnight, where he continued drinking on November 3.

The police report stated that Rose does not remember what happened at Tin Roof 2 before he was discovered passed out in his vehicle in the exit turn lane near Carothers Parkway.

The report indicated the Rose's keys were in the ignition and the car's motor was still running. In Tennessee, it is illegal to be under the influence and behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, running or not, with the keys on your person.

Police reported that by Rose's own statements he indicated that he had been drinking alcoholic beverages for several hours. Officers also found a 32 ounce tumbler of alcohol in his car. 

The responding officer reported Rose was unsteady on his feet and that he fell face first into shrubbery as he attempted to get up from a sitting position on the curb. 

While a field sobriety test was not administered, the officer estimated Rose's blood alcohol was likely twice the legal limit.

Rose was not arrested and allowed him to ride home with a friend. 

Prior to the decision, Rose reportedly said, "Do what you got to do. This is going to screw me for testing."

According to the report, Officer Megan Valentin, who has certifications as a DUI instructor, said she did not like the position Rose put his colleagues in, adding, "If this was any other citizen they would have been arrested."

Nashville's News 2 Investigates spoke with Police Chief Dave Rahinsky, who said the decision not to arrest Rose was at the officers' discretion.

"Officers use discretion, whether it is an arrest or a citation, those officers made a decision based on their discretion, and I'm not sure it was the right decision, but it was the decision made and once made we didn't have the ability to go back after the fact to change what occurred," he said.

Rahinsky continued, "As soon as I became aware, we suspended [Rose] and initiated an internal investigation and took every step short of termination to punish [Rose] for his poor decision making. [Rose] didn't leave this episode unscathed."

Sgt. JP Taylor added he was extremely frustrated when he realized [Rose] was involved in the incident, calling his fellow officer a hypocrite since he is responsible for teaching DUI classes.  

However, long-time criminal attorney, Lee Ofman, said he believes Rose got special treatment that a normal citizen would not receive.

"My general impression is the arresting officer favored the inebriated officer and gave him special treatment as opposed to a John Doe on the street," he said.

Ofman added, "It is a sensitive matter, the police department wants to make sure they don't have a tainted image that the public will get that they treat a DUI cop different than a DUI citizen. Knowing the Franklin Police Department like I do, they'll do their best to make sure the public is secure, that people are given equal justice, but based on Officer Rose, that was not equal justice. It seems to me, Officer Rose, probably should have gone to jail that night charged with DUI."

A grand jury could still indict Rose on charges if they were presented, according to Ofman.

Rahinsky said Rose will not be placed back with the DUI unit.

Rose was suspended for five days without pay following the incident and will participate in the city's "Last Chance" program which requires that he be tested for drugs and alcohol six times over the next year, as well as undergo counseling.

Since the night of the arrest, Rose said he has been seeing a counselor and attendeding Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

"I lost my brother to alcohol several years ago and there was some unresolved issues dealing with him," said Rose.

Chief Rahinsky said he considered terminating Rose, but instead, he was suspended without pay and lost his status as a DUI officer.

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