Columbia Police Department policies allow for some people suspected of driving while intoxicated to leave after receiving a ticket and without being taken to the police station.
ABC 17 News broke the news on Thursday that former Police Chief Ken Burton was arrested on suspicion of DWI that night. Police gave him a municipal summons during the stop at McBaine Avenue and West Broadway.
City spokesman Steve Sapp told ABC 17 News on Friday that Burton was released to a “responsible party,” and was not booked at the police station. Sapp said he did not know any details about who picked Burton up following the stop since the police report was still being drafted.
The police department’s policy on impaired driving enforcement calls for officers to take DWI suspects back to the station or hospital “for processing, evidential testing, and medical treatment if necessary,” according to documents. But an officer can release someone from the scene if the driver does not need medical treatment and a DWI unit officer completes an investigation.
Interim Police Chief Geoff Jones told ABC 17 News last night that Burton was an pulled over by an officer in the DWI Enforcement Unit.
The arrest could also affect the status of Burton’s peace officer license. The Missouri Department of Public Safety, which oversees the licensing and regulation of law enforcement officers, can discipline a licensed peace officer due to alcohol or substance abuse.
Mike O’Connell, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said Burton currently has an inactive license, which means Burton’s continuing education requirements have not been met. O’Connell said he could not say when Burton’s license lapsed from active to inactive. He also told ABC 17 News that the department was aware of Burton’s arrest.