Something’s happening in Toronto and it’s hard to figure out. Recently police in Durham had the uncomfortable duty of arresting a fellow officer for drunk driving. That makes four police officers arrested for DUI in about four months.
- Last week reports came in about a car driving erratically on a Clarington road. The driver, a constable with the Durham regional police, was arrested for DUI.
- A detective constable crashed his vehicle into a tree and fled the scene. He was later found at a hospital and charged with impaired driving.
- A constable went to a home to investigate a social media threat, and the homeowner called the police, concerned that the officer in question was intoxicated.
- A constable was arrested after a crash injured two people.
Looking beyond Durham, it appears that since 2010 more than 60 Ontario police officers have been disciplined for drunk driving.
There are, of course, two issues here: drinking, and drunk driving. It’s possible that the DUI arrests are just a symptom of the problem, one that haunts many officers. In general, alcoholism is known to be a problem in police work. The job is stressful, due to both internal and external causes. Police are also thought to be less inclined to seek counseling or therapy because of the specialized nature of police work – “outsiders” are not trusted. Moreover, officers are worried that having substance abuse counseling on their record might damage their careers.
When people drink constantly as a way to relieve stress or medicate themselves, it’s only a matter of time before they’ll drive under the influence. No one can say who hasn’t done an investigation, but it’s possible that the problem seen in Durham is bigger than the four bad decisions seen here.