A Fort Worth police officer charged in December with DWI has been fired.
Carl Duque, who had been with the department since June 1997, was off-duty when he was arrested Dec. 1 by Haltom City police. His arrest ended the Fort Worth Police Department’s streak 522 days with no DWI arrest of an officer.
Duque has appealed his indefinite suspension, which went into effect on May 19.
His attorney, Craig Driskell with the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, said he will request that the appeal be placed on hold until after a final outcome in the DWI case, which remained pending Thursday.
According to the disciplinary letter, signed by Police Chief Rhonda Robertson and filed a few days later with the Civil Service Commission, Duque spent the evening of Nov. 30 at four different clubs drinking.
He was driving his personal vehicle home just after midnight on Dec. 1 when a Haltom City police officer attempted to pull him over on N.E. Loop 820 after clocking him traveling 87 mph in a 60 mph zone.
The letter states that Duque’s car crossed from the outside lane to the right side of 820, weaving in the lanes. Duque then exited onto Rufe Snow Drive in North Richland Hills, traveling 50 mph on the 35 mph service road before pulling into a convenience store parking lot.
When asked by the officer if he’d been drinking, Duque initially said “no” but then acknowledged that he had been drinking and had just left a bar. Duque told the officer that he had consumed four to five beers at the Bearded Lady on Magnolia Avenue.
When asked by the officer where Duque would place himself on an intoxication scale of 1 to 10, Duque stated he felt he was at a 5 or 6, the letter states.
Duque was arrested for suspicion of DWI after failing a field sobriety test, the letter states.
A blood sample taken by warrant later revealed that Duque had a blood alcohol level of 0.14. The legal limit is 0.08.
Duque’s arrest came as the department was more than halfway to reaching then-Police Chief Jeff Halstead’s goal of going 1,000 days without a DWI arrest of an officer. The department had celebrated reaching Halstead’s previous goal of one year that June.
Halstead had begun keeping the tally on Jan. 1, 2013, following a series of changes made within the department aimed at stopping a troubling trend of alcohol-related arrests of officers. The arrests included Halstead’s own chief of staff as well as a now-imprisoned officer involved in a wreck that that killed a young mother.
As part of the changes, Halstead instituted a zero-tolerance policy, saying that any officer whose DWI accusation is “sustained” by internal affairs will be quickly fired, even before the case goes to trial.
Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655