ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO — An Albuquerque police sergeant has been temporarily reassigned after issuing a Bernalillo police officer a criminal summons early Saturday for aggravated DWI and not booking him into jail.
Instead, Bernalillo police detective Berto Chavez was allowed to call for a ride after his motorcycle was stopped at an Albuquerque police DWI checkpoint on N.M. 528, just outside Rio Rancho, according to a police report. Chavez was off-duty at the time.
APD Sgt. Joshua McDonald spoke with Chavez’s supervisor and found that Chavez books prisoners into the Metropolitan Detention Center on a regular basis. For that reason, it was decided that it would be unsafe for Chavez to be booked and processed into MDC, according to a DWI offense report.
McDonald has been temporarily reassigned until an investigation on whether standard operating procedures were violated, APD spokesman Rob Gibbs said Thursday.
“Everyone arrested for DWI/(Domestic Violence), pending a medical exemption is to be booked,” APD Chief Ray Schultz said in an email Thursday. “The Sergeant did not follow policy.”
An exception would be a medical condition, and in those cases, a summons is to be issued, he said.
McDonald has been reassigned to the Northeast command and an internal affairs investigation has been started, Schultz said.
Chavez, meanwhile, has been suspended from the Bernalillo Police Department.
According to the police report, Chavez said he was driving home from a West Side Albuquerque bar. He showed signs of impairment and changed his story from having one beer to three beers prior to driving.
Chavez performed poorly on field sobriety tests and refused to continue the tests, according to the police report. He later identified himself as a Bernalillo police officer and asked police at the checkpoint several times to “help” him out, the report states.
Chavez also refused to submit to an alcohol breath test.