Seattle Fire Department Under Fire For Allowing Drivers With DUI Convictions Behind The Wheels

Policy lapse or just plain nonchalance? As reports file in of the Seattle Fire Department’s blatant disregard for rules, one is forced to wonder why the authorities who need to enforce rules fail to do so over and over again?

Press Release – November 18th, 2014 Drunken driving is a huge problem in America, and legislators are always trying to come up with stricter laws that will help them prevail over this menace. But what is the point of harsher laws and penalties when some members of the community are being given free rein to do as they please and flout rules left, right, and center?

Reports have been coming in that some firefighters in Seattle, who had been caught for DUI violations during their time off, had been given leeway to drive their vehicles for work, even though it is against the rules. DUI Seattle attorneys say that the firefighters were caught for multiple violations and were allowed to continue working for months, even years, following the charges which is a serious disrespect of the state DUI laws.

Seattle Fire Department Under Fire For Allowing Drivers With DUI Convictions Behind The Wheels

The lapses in policy were discovered after a five-month investigation into the Seattle fire department’s procedures for dealing with employees with DUI violations. Incidentally, Fire Chief Gregory Dean repeatedly refused to speak about the topic or allow interviews until the mayor’s office intervened and asked him to lay bare all that was going on.

One of the Seattle firefighters convicted of DUI is fill-in-driver Linda Wells. Linda was convicted in 2010 of two drunken driving violations in the same year. According to her Seattle DUI lawyer, in one of the accidents Linda almost hit a car on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge when she had a blood alcohol concentration about three times the legal limit. Wells was required by a local court to install an ignition interlock device in her vehicle, which was ordered to stay on for 10 years. But the Seattle Fire Department let Wells drive her vehicle dozens of times over the years until her driving privileges were suspended in March of this year.

The Seattle Fire Department’s public information office also sent out a mail to all media channels stating that the department had a policy for dealing with DUI convictions wherein employees had to promptly notify the department of any change in their driver’s license status. According to the Washington Department of Licensing, an order for ignition interlock also constitutes a status change, so it is highly surprising that the department would enable drivers like Wells free to drive even though it violates their own policy in the matter.

There are many such instances of policy lapses in the fire department and Wells isn’t the only one under the scanner. Another driver – Joseph Dempsey – is currently awaiting trial for his DUI conviction in March of this year when he was found to be driving with a BAC of .176.

Chief Dean had tried to hide this lack of law enforcement in the department by saying that there is a policy in place, but there are examples of where someone has fallen through the cracks on the policy and that the entire department cannot be blamed for that. But it is obvious that his defense will not stick in the face of the allegations that are flying thick and fast.