On-duty drunk Pitkin County deputy placed on leave
A longtime Pitkin County sheriff’s deputy was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday for being intoxicated while on duty, Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said.
Deputy George Kremer, 61, had a breath-alcohol content more than the legal driving limit of 0.08 but less than 0.16, said DiSalvo, who declined to release the actual number.
“I’m very disappointed,” he said. “It’s unacceptable. It’s embarrassing. It’s not behavior I’d expect from any police officer, much less one from my office.”
Kremer did drive a marked sheriff’s department vehicle Wednesday morning but was not charged with DUI because a Colorado State Patrol trooper did not see him driving, DiSalvo said. Instead, Kremer was charged with misdemeanor prohibited use of weapon because he had his service firearm with him.
Reached for comment Wednesday, Kremer said he’d worked a long shift the night before, stayed up late drinking and was back on duty early in the morning.
“It just wasn’t enough time,” he said, adding that he didn’t drink immediately before his shift or while on duty Wednesday.
Kremer said there are reasons behind his behavior, but they are not excuses for what happened.
“I’m very sorry,” he said. “I apologize to the people of Pitkin County who pay my salary, and I really look forward to serving them again in the future.”
Kremer reported for duty at 7 a.m. Wednesday and later was dispatched to help deal with traffic at a car accident at the intersection of the Aspen Business Center and Highway 82, DiSalvo said. About 10:30 a.m. while at the accident scene, another deputy smelled alcohol on Kremer and notified DiSalvo, he said.
DiSalvo said he then called Colorado State Patrol, which had a trooper stationed nearby. Because he did not see Kremer drive — a standard troopers use for every driver — and because Kremer did not appear intoxicated except for the alcoholic odor, he did not charge him with DUI, he said.
A phone message left for a state patrol captain seeking comment was not returned. No alcohol was found in Kremer’s sheriff’s vehicle, DiSalvo said. Kremer could be fired for the incident, but for the time being, the sheriff said he will wait and see what happens with Kremer’s court case.
Kremer said he’s worked for the Sheriff’s Office for 19 years, and spent six years with the Aspen Police Department before that. He said he plans to find better ways to deal with stress than using alcohol.
“I’m going to try and use this as a learning experience,” he said.
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