Texas State Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman John Whitmire (D - Houston) thinks there might be a problem:
“Some people shouldn’t be driving after one drink — probably below the 0.08 limit — and this could address that. It might also free up courts and prosecutors to focus on the repeat offenders.”
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo agrees:
He noted that one person may drive dangerously at the 0.08 level — the nationally accepted standard for being drunk — while others “may be at 0.05 or 0.06. It depends on the person.”

“People sometimes focus on how many drinks they can have before they’ll go to jail,” Acevedo said. “It varies. ... A person may be intoxicated at 0.05, and you don’t want them out driving.”
 Acevedo testified before Whitmire's committee on the subject and supported 'mandatory blood samples for repeat offenders, allowing police to operate DWI checkpoints, and adding a new offense of aggravated DWI for offenders who are found to have a breath-alcohol reading of 0.18 or higher.'

I have two problems with all of this.  For one thing the presumption that a person exists who is too intoxicated to safely operate a motor vehicle at a blood alcohol level between 0.05 and 0.07 also implies that a person exists who is not too intoxicated to safely operate a motor vehicle at a blood alcohol level above 0.08.  If one is possible the other is equally possible.  If human physiology is variable it must be variable in both directions.

But my real gripe here is with Acevedo, or any other active police official for that matter, making policy suggestions above the level of police department administration.  Police officers are hired to enforce laws.  Police chiefs are hired to manage departments of police officers.  Politicians are elected to make laws.  There's a distinct and important difference there.  The People don't elect police officers at any level.  The People hire police officers to enforce the laws made by the elected politicians. 

Members of the US military are forbidden by law from participating in most politics beyond voting.  This includes publicly advocating for or against particular issues, especially in uniform.  There are many reasons that this is a good idea, not least of which is that it is desirable to have a stark separation between elected civilian government, accountable to the The People, and military chain of command, ultimately accountable to the the elected civilian government.  We don't want generals deciding who we attack, we want elected officials who must stand for re-election to make those decisions so we can fire them when they fuck it up.

Similarly we shouldn't ask police officers who should get arrested or why.  We should tell them who to arrest and then give them the support they need to do so safely and efficiently.


1 comment:

  1. I think that Acevedo is actually our shadow mayor. MAYORING FROM THE SHADOWS!


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