Champaign says cop convicted of DUI not 'working on the streets'

MONTICELLO — A 43-year-old Champaign police officer who admitted driving under the influence of alcohol has been sentenced to 18 months of court supervision.

Piatt County Associate Judge Rick Broch on Tuesday confirmed the sentence for Brian Gallagher of Monticello that State’s Attorney Dana Rhoades and defense attorney Roger Simpson of Monticello had agreed to at the time Gallagher pleaded guilty last month.

Gallagher, a sergeant on the Champaign Police Department, was arrested Sept. 18 by the Piatt County sheriff’s office. He pleaded guilty Jan. 16 to misdemeanor DUI, but Broch only confirmed the sentence Tuesday after Gallagher brought his alcohol evaluation to court.

Such reports are standard in DUI cases.

Gallagher has not been working for the city since Jan. 2, according to Champaign Human Resources Director Chris Bezruki.

Bezruki declined to use the term "fired," saying only that Gallagher is appealing a decision about his employment status that was jointly made by City Manager Steve Carter and Police Chief Anthony Cobb.

Cobb did not answer an email inquiry about Gallagher’s work status, but department spokeswoman Rene Dunn did, saying “the department can confirm that Brian Gallagher is not currently working on the streets.” She referred further inquiries to Bezruki.

“He’s still under appeal. We consider it personnel and we can’t comment,” Bezruki said.

Piatt County State’s Attorney Dana Rhoades said a motorist on Interstate 72 called police on Sept. 18 to say a pickup truck was weaving back and forth in the eastbound lanes. About 9:30 p.m., the deputy stopped the truck just west of the White Heath exit.

She said officers said Gallagher had slurred speech and an odor of alcohol. After doing field sobriety tests, Gallagher was arrested for DUI.

His breath-alcohol concentration was 0.26 percent, more than three times the limit under which motorists are presumed intoxicated in Illinois.

Rhoades said the deputy noted there was an adult passenger in the truck who also appeared to have been drinking and that there was open alcohol in the truck.

As part of his sentence, Gallagher was ordered to drink no alcohol, submit to random alcohol screenings, attend a victim impact panel, perform 100 hours of public service, and pay $2,690 in fines, fees and costs by March 12, 2013. Rhoades said Gallagher has already completed an inpatient treatment program.

Rhoades said Gallagher has no prior criminal convictions.

Gallagher has been with the Champaign Police Department since July 1993.

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Danno wrote on February 05, 2013 at 5:02 pm

...'not working the streets'; what does that mean, 'off duty?'.

Maybe, that Sergeant Gallagher had been assigned administrative duties prior to this. We don't know.

Standard DUI case proceedings yes, and, Sergeant Gallagher is a public 'servant' of law enforcement in our community.

With no 'priors'; which is redeeming. Otherwise; is it a 'personnel' or, 'personal' issue?.

A 0.26% may well indicate a built up tolerance level that may find others puking their guts out and passing out beneath the porcelin throne.

 

rsp wrote on February 05, 2013 at 7:02 pm

I've noticed that there haven't been any reports on what kind of support is given to officers and firefighters. Both can be high stress jobs and are susceptible to alcohol abuse and suicide. How does one ask for help if one risks getting fired? Almost 20 years on the force? Is this the best policy they can work out?

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 06, 2013 at 8:02 am

I don't think one necessarily risks firing based on asking for help. The vast majority of employment situations have anonymous hotlines, etc. Further, Alcohol rehabilityation would fall under FMLA, I believe. The issue here is endangering all of the other people on the road while committing a crime - DRIVING while under the influence.

I believe lots of crimes would immediately cause police officers to lose their jobs. 

rsp wrote on February 06, 2013 at 9:02 pm

They still have to justify taking a leave. And the city is self-insured so they pay the bills. Unless you pay it out of pocket. 

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 06, 2013 at 9:02 pm

It's medical - they have to grant it.

 

mstrom wrote on February 05, 2013 at 10:02 pm
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According to NIH, in the United States, about 18 million people have an alcohol use disorder, classified as either alcohol dependence—perhaps better known as alcoholism—or alcohol abuse. Alcoholism is a serious chronic disease that is often poorly understood by the general public. It is classified as a disability under ADA.  It effects the rich, poor, the educated and not so educated, all races and backgrounds.  Most everyone knows someone who is struggling with alcoholism.  Like diabetes, it is treatable but not curable.  It is a disease of the mind, body and spirit.  As much as their family and friends wish, an alcoholic cannot make themselves stop drinking.  Left untreated it will lead the person to many serious physical and societal consequences.  Only when an alcoholic is ready to admit they have an incurable affliction and ask for help of others can they begin recovery and stop drinking.  None of this makes drinking and driving o.k.  It is most certainly not o.k.  It does clarify that the fundamental crime of the alcoholic is to fail to admit they have a problem and to fail to ask for help.  For without asking for help, the alcoholic will drink and they will do things like drink and drive.  So please please if you think you might have a problem go see your doctor, get referred for an assessment.  It is confidential and you might just save your career and potentially someone's life.  I do also believe that we should try to provide treatment to those who seek it and yes reprieve to those who earn it. Note: in DUI cases resulting in injury or death, more serious consequences should and must occur. My humble assessment as someone who has worked in the recovery/counseling  field.

mcdigsk2 wrote on March 25, 2013 at 9:03 am

Officer Brian Gallagher arrested me for DUI 4 years ago.  Similarly to the officer, I also had no previous arrest/ criminal record, however, I was not fortunate enough to get Court Supervison like he received.  His record will be clean very soon, mine however will not. #Favoritism  # Dirty Cop

SaintClarence27 wrote on March 26, 2013 at 2:03 pm

While I agree that the cop's record should not be clean, if you wanted a clean record you probably shouldn't have gotten behind the wheel and endangered others. I hope you have cleaned up since then.