The Surveillance camera had been set up on a ranch road in Santa Fe County, New Mexico to catch vandals. An officer has been placed on administrative leave, but the New Mexico State Police have not released the name of the trooper caught on video administering a unique kind of roadside sobriety test.
Call this a new twist in the war on photography of police.
Something is on the ground between his legs in the surveillance photo. Small dog? Cat? His ticket book? It’s not his duty belt, that seems to be hanging half way to the ground.
UPDATE: The officer and the woman have been identified [I generally don’t repeat names on this blog]. No criminal charges will result to either, but the officer’s job may be in jeopardy. He certainly brings embarrassment to the New Mexico State Police and if the military standard of “conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentlemen” applied, he’d be fired. I guess police officers are not expected to be gentlemen. Nor badge bunnies expected to be ladies.
A spokesmen for the NM State Police has said this officer would be considered on duty even if he had finished his shift because he was still in uniform. Well, that’s good to know. In a strict legal sense, there is no such thing as an off-duty police officer. Once sworn the power of arrest and all aspects of the oath are present 24/7 until the officer’s employment terminates.
The spokesman said the woman was not involved in any of the officer’s cases. It would be a much different matter if that were so.
It’s a legitimate question to ask — what would this officer have done if he had come upon two citizens doing what he was doing? A little more than coitus interruptus, I’d say. Another legitimate question might have something to do with abuse of the power of the badge. That’s the real misconduct here, and to my mind the thing that makes this officer unfit.
UPDATE II: He’s been fired. He has 30 days to appeal.