The off-duty police officer arrested in Thornton this week on suspicion of driving drunk was the Boulder Police Department's DUI enforcement officer -- and also the second member of the department to face drunken-driving charges in the past month.
Elizabeth Ward, 36, was the Boulder Police Department's only officer assigned solely to DUI enforcement, Chief Mark Beckner confirmed Thursday.
While all officers are tasked with enforcing DUI laws, Beckner said the department assigns certain officers to specialize in drunken-driving enforcement. The number of officers tasked with DUI work can fluctuate depending on the department's resources, Beckner said.
Beckner also confirmed Thursday that Ward's arrest comes less than three weeks after Detective Scott Morris was arrested on suspicion of DUI by the Boulder County Sheriff's Office.
"Just one incident would have me concerned, so having two is very concerning, absolutely," Beckner said.
Both Ward, who has been with the department since 2007, and Morris, on the force since 2000, are on paid administrative leave.
An internal investigation will be completed, and a review board will have the option to recommend discipline. The discipline, which must be approved by Beckner, could range from verbal reprimand to termination.
'Can't you just cut me a ticket?'
Morris, 40, was pulled over at 9:22 p.m. Nov. 15 on northbound U.S. 36 near Middle Fork Road after a deputy clocked his Honda sedan going 76 mph in a 55 mph zone, according to a Sheriff's Office arrest report.
Several of the deputies who participated in the traffic stop recognized him from previous stops, and one of them said he had been pulled over 44 times in the past several years, according to the report.
The arresting deputy noted that after Morris exited his vehicle, he appeared nervous, with bloodshot, watery eyes and breath smelling of alcohol.
When asked to perform a roadside sobriety test, Morris responded, "Can't you just cut me a ticket?" according to the report. When asked again, Morris complied, then was arrested on suspicion of DUI.
Morris told the arresting deputy that he had begun drinking in his car about half an hour before being pulled over, according to the report. He said he had consumed half a pint of peppermint schnapps, according to the report.
An empty bottle of peppermint schnapps was found in the middle console of his car, and an unopened bottle of vodka was found on the passenger seat along with a loaded .38 Special Smith & Wesson revolver, according the report.
His vehicle also contained Boulder Police Department SWAT team gear, including loaded magazines for an assault rifle. The vehicle was turned over to Boulder sergeants who drove it back to police headquarters after his arrest, according to the report.
Blood test results showed that his blood alcohol content was 0.104.
Morris was booked and released from the Boulder County Jail on possible charges of DUI, speeding and prohibited use of a weapon, according the arrest report.
He is scheduled to make his first court appearance Jan. 7.
Morris could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Police: Drunken DUI officer was weaving
In Ward's case, according to police reports, the officer was driving northbound on Interstate 25 around 2:15 a.m. Tuesday when an off-duty Arvada police officer reported she was weaving between lanes and driving 40 mph in a 65 mph zone. The off-duty officer called in to report Ward and then followed her.
By the time an on-duty Thornton officer reached Ward, she had pulled off the side of the road on her own, according to police.
When asked why she had pulled over, Ward said, "I'm drunk," and the officer noted an odor of alcohol and that Ward's speech was slurred and her eyes were bloodshot, according to the report. When she exited the car to perform a roadside sobriety test, officers noted she had a hard time standing up and eventually declined to perform the maneuvers.
Thornton police took a sample of Ward's blood and issued her a summons on suspicion of weaving and DUI. She was then released into the custody of a Boulder police sergeant after being booked into jail, according to the report.
Ward declined to comment when reached at her home Wednesday.