SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – The Seattle Police officer arrested for DUI earlier this month will stay on the job, at least for now. Police spokesman Sean Whitcomb says that the Office of Professional Accountability has opened an investigation but the criminal case has to be complete before any discipline could be imposed.
The arrest occurred on Interstate 405 near Bellevue. It was 5 a.m., and the trooper saw an SUV weaving across the white line onto the narrow shoulder.
Once stopped, the trooper realized that the driver was Scott Moss – a 16-year veteran of SPD – who often appeared as the face of the department, until he was arrested in 2005 for DUI. That charge was later amended to negligent driving.
Moss made sure the trooper knew he was a police officer – handing over his driver’s license and his Seattle Police ID.
Was Moss given special treatment?
“Everything I read in the report appears to be very standard. I don’t see any special treatment or anything out of the ordinary,” said Trooper Julie Startup.
Moss agreed to take a field sobriety test.
Moss failed the horizontal gaze nystagmus test – considered a bellwether for impairment. During the test the trooper looks for an involuntary jerking or bouncing of the eyeball that occurs when a person is impaired by alcohol. But the trooper did not administer two other roadside tests – walking and balance – that are usually done.
“All three of the standardized tests are typically performed, but it’s always at the discretion of the officer to determine if that’s necessary,” said Trooper Startup.
According to the trooper’s report, Moss “appeared shocked” and “frustrated’” when he was put in handcuffs.
But he wasn’t breathalyzed right away. The trooper’s portable unit had a dead battery. And nearly two hours elapsed before a blood alcohol test was done at a nearby police department. By then his readings were .069 and .075 – below the legal limit of .08.
When challenged, the trooper told Moss that by extrapolating backward and dong the math, it was easy to tell that Moss was over the legal limit at the time he was stopped for weaving on the freeway.
Moss was not booked into jail. An SPD commander was called to come and get him.