It all started in October of 2009 when Lake Stevens Police Officer at Stevenson was arrested for a DUI in Seattle while visiting family.
A Washington State Patrol Officer arrested Stevenson for driving under the influence and impounded his personal vehicle. He was released that same night.
Stevenson, who has been a Lake Stevens Police Officer for over five years, was put on paid administrative leave during the trial, which, after several postponements, took place in December 2011.
“Since he hadn’t been convicted and his license wasn’t suspended we had no grounds to suspend him at that time,” Lake Stevens Police Chief Randy Celori said.
While waiting for his trial to start, Celori was informed that Stevenson may be violating his release conditions and asked for an investigation to take place.
“Charges were substantiated that he had violated his court order as well as city policy,” Lake Stevens City Administrator Jan Berg said.
LSPD needed to investigate the claims.
“In July 2011, I found out that he was not keeping with his conditions of release, a court order where he was prohibited from consuming alcohol,” Celori explained. “I verified he was in violation and I notified the King County Prosecutor’s office.”
Celori then brought in outside help from the Tukwila Police Department to conduct an investigation on the violation.
At Stevenson’s trial in December, the police officer was found guilty by a jury, however, the judge threw out the verdict because she felt that jurors may have found out that he was a police officer which could have affected their decision.
The King County Prosecutor has appealed the judge’s decision. They should have a decision sometime in August 2012.
After the trial and internal investigation was complete, the City of Lake Stevens had a significant amount of proof to terminate Stevenson from his duties as a Lake Stevens Police Officer on February 7, 2012.
“The city felt that there was enough evidence to terminate his employment,” Berg said. “We’ve been trying to be fair to the employee and do what is best for the city risk wise. It’s not something you want to rush through.”
This is the first Lake Stevens Police officer to be terminated due to a DUI charge.
“Since I’ve been here in 1995 I am not aware of any other officers being issued a DUI,” Celori said. “I don’t take these matters lightly. I hold all of our officers to high standards. All officers take an oath of office and follow a code of ethics which they read and sign. Police officers are supposed to set the example.”