In the ongoing "War on Drunk Driving", the latest news from the front….
High-Ranking Cop Caught Lying About DUI Arrests
Des Plaines, Iowa. Feb. 26 — A former police commander in Des Plaines, Illinois was brought up on charges last Wednesday by prosecutors who say he lied about drunk-driving (DUI) arrests. According to US Attorney Gary S. Shapiro, Timothy J. Veit was caught creating 122 bogus drunk driving arrests in an effort to boost the police department's revenue with federal overtime payments. Between 2009 and 2012, the effort generated $132,893 in bogus payments.
The source of the funds was the US Transportation Department's Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP), which funnels federal gas tax dollars through the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to bankroll traffic ticket-writing blitzes that typically take place on holiday weekends. Veit was in charge of his department's STEP campaign, which meant he had to meet a clearly specified traffic ticket quota to qualify for the monetary reward.
"IDOT notified STEP grant recipients of the performance objectives for the STEP enforcement campaigns, which performance objectives included that the grant recipient average at least one Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrest for every ten hours of overtime worked by law enforcement officers on impaired-driving enforcement campaigns," Shapiro wrote in his charging document.
As part of the funding agreement in the STEP program, local police departments must provide a detailed monthly report updating federal officials on the progress of ticket-writing blitzes. Veit signed and dated these compliance reports as well as a number of reimbursement requests. Prosecutors claim Veit claimed 27 DUI arrests in 2009 when there were only 13 arrests made. The next year, he turned 8 arrests into 47. In 2011, 8 DUI arrests became 62, and, last year, one arrest became 16. Each bogus arrest included made up blood-alcohol content readings.
City officials discovered the discrepancy in March 2012 and allowed Veit, who is 55, to retire in April. Since 2009, Veit had collected over $40,000 in overtime himself. Veit is charged with one felony count of making false statements, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000, though he is likely to serve less time under federal sentencing guidelines.
Police departments across the country continue to deny they use quotas for drunk driving arrests. Using quotas, of course, forces cops to make arrests because they have to — not necessarily because anyone is guilty. See my past posts: DUI Quotas, "Yes We Have No DUI Quotas" and "Inside Edition" Documents DUI Quotas Across U.S.