UPD blames officers for not citing deputy chief's son for DUI
Published: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 8:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 8:05 p.m.
The University of Florida Police Department says officers did not follow protocol in an incident late last month in which the son of the deputy chief was stopped for suspicion of drunken driving but was allowed to go home with his dad without so much as a traffic citation, despite registering a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit.
UPD's statement that the actions of responding officers "were not in line with our department's established directives and procedures" came in response to a public records request filed Wednesday by The Sun in connection with the incident.
According to an offense report provided to The Sun, two bicycle patrol officers with UPD stopped a blue Honda four-door sedan shortly after 1 a.m. on June 29 for driving southbound on Fletcher Drive, which is a northbound-only road. The officers reported that the driver — 23-year-old Marc A. Dunn, son of Deputy Chief Tony Dunn — appeared intoxicated.
Officer Rodrigo Morales, after talking to and observing the younger Dunn, contacted a superior, Lt. Robert Wagner, who arrived at the scene and instructed Morales to conduct a breath test on Dunn, which showed his blood-alcohol level to be .176. The point at which a driver is considered legally drunk in Florida is .08.
Wagner then contacted Deputy Chief Dunn, who arrived at the scene in his personal vehicle and drove his son home, police reported. The younger Dunn's car was left parked on campus, to be picked up at a later time.
After being contacted Wednesday by The Sun, UPD spokesman Maj. Brad Barber provided the following written statement:
"When this incident was brought to the attention of Chief (Linda) Stump, she immediately recognized and acknowledged that the actions taken that morning involving this incident were not in line with our department's established directives and procedures involving Driving Under the Influence (DUI) investigations. Given that recognition, she directed the initiation and forwarding of a sworn complaint to the State Attorney's Office after gathering further information and reviewing probable cause established during this incident.
"The incident has been reviewed internally and appropriate, remedial training actions will be completed as well as any potential disciplinary actions against the officers involved if deemed necessary."
Barber told The Sun that UPD on Friday forwarded a sworn complaint against Marc Dunn to the State Attorney's Office after the chief completed her investigation.
The Alachua County Clerk of Court's Office, however, had no record Wednesday of the sworn complaint, and Paul Clendenin, chief investigator for the State Attorney's Office, said the complaint was hand-delivered at noon on Wednesday, after UPD had been contacted by The Sun. Barber could not be reached Wednesday evening to clarify his earlier statement.
Chief Stump said Wednesday in a telephone interview that Deputy Chief Dunn had committed no wrong by taking his son home.
"All of the decision-making actions were completed by officers on scene prior to any notification of Deputy Chief Dunn," Stump said. "He (Deputy Chief Dunn) was not a part of any of the decision-making involving his son."
When asked whether the deputy chief had the authority to instruct officers to conduct a proper DUI investigation, Stump said, "he's not over operations. He's not over that division ... Actually, Deputy Chief Dunn is the one who contacted me. He did what he was supposed to do in terms of notifying chain of command."
Morales and Officer Jordan Craven were on routine bicycle patrol when they noticed Marc Dunn's car driving in the wrong direction, according to the incident report from the morning of June 29.
No record of the offense report had been posted to UPD's online crime log as of early Wednesday. Barber told The Sun that reports are not typically filed online until action is taken, which he said had not happened in this case until Friday. Barber said he would update the UPD website to note Marc Dunn's offense report, which did appear later Wednesday evening.
The incident report states the following happened after Morales and Craven spotted Marc Dunn's car:
Morales stopped the Honda in front of the UF Racquet Club and asked Dunn for his driver's license, registration and proof of insurance. Dunn provided Morales with his driver's license but had to search inside the vehicle for the remaining documents.
While looking for his other documents, Dunn told Morales he was the son of Deputy Chief Tony Dunn. As Dunn spoke, Morales picked up the scent of alcohol on Dunn's breath and noticed he was wearing a blue wristband commonly associated with bars in midtown.
When asked, Dunn said he had had four drinks that night.
Dunn eventually handed Morales two different vehicle registrations and an expired insurance card. One of the registrations was issued in Marc Dunn's name but still had the yellow decal attached to the document. Morales then ordered Dunn to affix the decal to his license plate in order for it to be valid.
As Dunn exited his car, both Morales and Craven noticed he was unsteady on his feet and had difficulty removing the decal from the document. Morales then told Dunn he believed he was intoxicated and was concerned about his ability to drive.
Dunn said he would call a taxi or have a friend pick him up. Morales then instructed Dunn to remove the wristband and call a friend before closing out the traffic stop at 1:48 a.m., with a warning.
Within minutes, another investigator drove by. Morales, who has worked at UPD for more than a year and a half, flagged him down to seek his opinion about the situation and whether he should contact the lieutenant on duty, Robert Wagner. The investigator said yes, Morales should contact Lt. Wagner.
Morales used his two-way radio to contact Wagner but then asked him for a phone number to continue the conversation and inform him of the circumstance.
Wagner told Morales to detain Dunn until he arrived on the scene. A few minutes later, Wagner advised over the radio that Dunn was not free to leave.
After Wagner arrived, Morales told him he did not wish to conduct a DUI investigation of Dunn. Wagner told Morales, according to the report written by Morales, that "he would support my decision with whatever I chose to do next." Wagner then handed Morales a portable breath test and asked him to test Dunn.
Wagner told Dunn he either could submit to the portable test, which does not meet the same criteria as an official breath test and is typically inadmissible in court, or he would be subjected to a DUI investigation. Dunn agreed to provide a breath sample but first called his father and told him "they" would be calling him in a few seconds, referring to the UPD officers. Dunn then provided the breath-alcohol reading of .176.
At around 2:30 a.m., Deputy Chief Dunn arrived in his personal vehicle to pick up his son. Chief Stump was on vacation at the time of the traffic stop and was notified by Deputy Dunn the following morning.
Marc Dunn has had previous run-ins with the law for traffic offenses as well as alcohol use.
In June 2009, he was charged with hit and run on allegations he left the scene of an accident with property damage, but the state declined to prosecute after Dunn fulfilled the obligations of his traffic sanctions.
In December 2009, he was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct by public intoxication. The charges were dropped in that case as well.
Marc Dunn also was cited in 2012 for failure to stop at a stop sign and not having proof of insurance. In March, he was issued a traffic citation for failure to yield for a school bus.
A person convicted of a first-offense DUI in the state of Florida can be jailed up to six months, fined up to $500, ordered to serve 50 hours of community service, be placed on a year's probation, have his or her license revoked for at least 180 days and be compelled to attend DUI school.
Attempts Wednesday to reach Marc Dunn and Deputy Chief Tony Dunn were unsuccessful.
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.