PITTSBURGH - A Pittsburgh police officer has been charged with drunken driving after he allegedly showed up for work drunk.
According to the criminal complaint, 38-year-old Vernon Gibson, of Mount Washington, was seen by a fellow officer driving into the parking lot of the Municipal Courts Building about 11 p.m.
After exiting his SUV, Gibson was told by Sgt. Sean Duffy to get into his unmarked police vehicle to be taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital for mandatory, random drug and alcohol testing.
The complaint said Duffy “immediately noticed his [Gibson’s] eyes were bloodshot, glassy and watery.”
It was also noted in the complaint that Duffy observed Gibson smelled of alcohol and had slurred speech.
Two breath tests were administered to Gibson upon arrival at Mercy Hospital. The lower of the two tests read .128 percent, exceeding the legal limit of .08 percent.
“It’s unfortunate and it’s embarrassing for Mr. Gibson and the City of Pittsburgh,” said Beth Pittinger, of the citizen’s police review board.
Gibson was released on summons and is charged with two counts of driving under the influence. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 12, 2014.
Police officials said Gibson was already on administrative leave, though they haven't said why.
He was charged with insurance fraud in 2011 when he allegedly claimed his vehicle had been struck when police said Gibson damaged it himself while trying to park. He entered a first-offender's program last year that court records show he has yet to complete.
Police union president Mike Laporte told Target 11 investigator Rick Earle that he’s waiting to see the discipline. He also questioned the media’s interest in the case.
“Pittsburgh police have the greatest level of stress, danger, forced overtime and scrutiny when compared to every other police agency in the region. Why is it newsworthy when one of them succumbs to humanity?” Laporte said.
However, Pittinger said Friday’s incident should be the last straw.
“Here we are today, where there’s been another incident involving him. So it’s probably best for everybody if we part ways, but make sure that if he’s looking for some support and help, that we give him that, too,” Pittinger said.
Richard Stanley, Gibson’s neighbor, said, “You got people out here that look up to officers, kids that want to be a cop. To hear about this allegation, or whatever, people are going to start looking at everybody differently now.”
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