9 Wants to Know: How could police officer drive on suspended license?
Reporter: Craig Smith
MARANA, Ariz (KGUN9-TV) - For the past few weeks officers around the state have been out in force cracking down on drunken drivers.
But last weekend one of the people they nabbed turned out to be one of their own. A Marana police officer was busted for driving under the influence. And as it turns out she was also driving on a suspended license.
Nine On Your Side wants to know how someone could serve as a police officer, on a suspended license.
At Shannon and Magee, just barely after one on Saturday, an Oro Valley Police officer on DUI patrol saw a car run a red light.
He stopped the driver. After a field sobriety test, he concluded she was driving drunk.
The driver was 31 year old Irasema Teran. She was different from your average DUI bust. She's a patrol officer for Marana PD, and, according to Oro Valley Police, she was driving on a suspended licence.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked Marana's chief about that suspended license.
Smith: "How was it that the department didn't pick up that her license had been suspended?"
Chief Terry Rozema: "I think it's important for people to remember and understand that a person who receives a traffic ticket that doesn't pay that ticket can then have their license suspended. The MVD makes the suspension of that license and doesn't provide notification to anyone except to the individual whose license is suspended. So conceivably you could have people in any walk of life with their license suspended without their employer knowing that."
Chief Rozema says officers face a detailed background check when they start with the department. After that, they're required to disclose legal problems like a suspended license. The chief says officers have been keeping that promise but now the department is considering ways to have regular re-checks.
Chief Rozema said, "One of those ways would be in every evaluation period, whether that's a town policy or department policy that when a person comes up for their annual evaluation a check is done of the license to ensure there are no issues with it."
Chief Rozema wants citizens to understand this case does not reflect on the integrity of the department as a whole.
While Oro Valley investigates the DUI charge, Marana will hold its own administrative investigation, with the officer on leave in the meantime.
One thing the chief points out is it could be that the license suspension for Officer Teran could be the sort of administrative mistake where she paid any tickets she might have but the system still showed her as suspended.
KGUN9 own check of her records with information we could access showed one speeding ticket, a parking ticket, a two year old case of driving with a plate suspended for failure to have insurance, and one item where it's not clear what the charge was.
We found no court record that clearly suspended her license.