Chicago policeman Dale Jesionowski, 53, has been charged with misdemeanor DUI after a fellow officer observed him driving erratically on the city's Southwest side. According to local news outlets, at approximately 12 pm Jesionowski was seen striking a curb in the parking lot of a police station in his police vehicle. "These actions were viewed by an on duty Lt. who subsequently had a conversation with said officer about what had occurred," Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department, said in a statement. Jesionowski, who works in the city's 8th district, has been temporarily relieved of his duties while Internal Affairs investigates. Police records indicate that this was not the first time Jesionowski has dealt with this type of allegation. There was at least one prior incident in 2015 during which he was ‘intoxicated on duty.' The result was a 15-day suspension.
Information regarding Jesionowski's last alcohol-related incident was made available on the Citizens Police Data Project, an online resource providing infographics on allegations against police officers, infractions in the line of duty and the number of disciplined/exonerated/unfounded incidents. The data available spans approximately 2001 to 2008 and 2011 to 2015, although there is variation amongst the officers with the years of data available. The CPDP presents a disclaimer upon arrival to their site, stating "The City of Chicago's release of this information was accompanied by a disclaimer that not all of the information contained in the City's database may be completely accurate,” adding that “these lists [were released] in response to litigation and to FOIA Requests.”
The data can paint a skewed picture as to police offenses, how they are disciplined and for our purposes, how police DUI is disciplined. To begin, it is incomplete. For example, Jesionowski's time at the department began in 1991, but no records are available for offenses/complaints made between 1991 and 2000 or 2005 and 2010. With 20 complaints logged against the officer since 2001, only one resulted in disciplinary action. “Final Outcome: No Action Taken” appears 19 times. Jesionowski is not alone in this respect. Reviewing the allegation records of his fellow officers, one frequently sees ‘0' listed as the number of allegations disciplined, even if the number of allegations is as high as 35.
Interestingly, drug and alcohol related offenses consistently seem to be the most disciplined infraction. Data shows 35% of drug/alcohol abuse allegations against officers were disciplined - the highest proportion of any allegation type. As a subcategory of drug/alcohol abuse, 'Intoxicated on Duty' saw 24 out of 29 offenses disciplined. At minimum, there was a 15-day suspension, at maximum the officer resigned or was terminated. This indicates that 'intoxication on duty' is a far more comprehensively punished offense in the police department. Just 8% of personnel violations were disciplined, .3% of illegal search allegations were punished, 1% of use of force allegations, 6% of false arrest allegations. Even 'conduct unbecoming of an officer,' which was disciplined in approximately 20% of cases, falls far below the disciplinary rate for officer intoxication.
That being said, there is no concrete answer as to “what will happen” when a police officer gets a DUI. It depends greatly on their track record, the severity of the offense, the culture of the department and their relationship with superiors. Penalties could be as minor as short-term suspensions or as serious as being terminated. There is no single answer.
If you have been personally charged with driving under the influence in DeKalb County Georgia and fear the long and short term effects it may have on your career, it is in your best interest to secure the services of a skilled DUI attorney to scrutinize your charges and defend your rights. Do not hesitate to contact DeKalb County Georgia DUI Attorney Richard Lawson at any time for a free consultation.