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Old 02-16-2012, 08:15 PM   #1
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Head of RIDE program suspended, accused of intoxication at work


Head of RIDE program suspended, accused of intoxication at work

15/02/2012 8:54:00 AM

The officer in charge of stopping drunk driving in Toronto was suspended last week for possibly being drunk on the job. Police shouldn't just enforce the law, but be good role models for it.

"Do as I say, not as I do." It's tempting to say this to our children as we teach them how to act and behave, but in all honesty, the best way to get through to them is to model good behavior and act in the way we want them to behave.

The head of the Toronto police's impaired-driving prevention program, Superintendent Earl Witty, may have caught himself in the ultimate do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do situation.

Supt. Witty was sent home last week and put on a short-term suspension after the people he worked with claimed he appeared to be intoxicated at work. While an investigation is still pending and no charges have been laid, there are rumblings that Witty may have been drunk on the job.

I'll await confirmation of the accusation before opining on Witty himself — I'm aware that there are other circumstances, like certain medications, that can lead to behavior that looks like drunkenness — but the idea of an official empowered to stop drunk driving being sent home for possibly being drunk is troubling. If he was, in fact, intoxicated, how did he get to work? Is there not a possibility that he was intoxicated on the road as well?

We all make mistakes, and we all exercise errors in judgment. Our law enforcement officials, being human, are not exempt from that fact. And while we can not justifiably expect our police to be perfect, it is not surprising or even unreasonable to hold them to a slightly higher standard; they are responsible for enforcing our conduct in light of the statutes of the law, so it is not unfair to expect them to be paragons of that particular part of the law.

The unresolved accusation against Witty notwithstanding, our law enforcement officials should be modeling good behavior to those of us that depend on them for our safety and welfare. Their actions in their personal lives are not up for our scrutiny, but their actions while wearing a badge or a uniform should not just enforce proper behavior, but remind us of that behavior through example.
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