Vernon Gibson, a 38-year-old Pittsburgh police officer allegedly arrived to work last Friday night heavily under the influence of alcohol. The Pittsburgh police department has taken action by filing DUI charges against Gibson after he arrived at the Municipal Courts Building around 11pm for a scheduled visit to UPMC Mercy Hospital for a random drug and alcohol test. ´The criminal complaint stated that Gibson got into the vehicle of a fellow officer when that officer noticed Gibson had bloodshot eyes and was slurring his speech. Upon arriving at the hospital Gibson was given two breathalyzer tests, the lower of which showed a 0.128 blood-alcohol level.
Representatives of the Police Review Board have expressed a concern for Gibson's health by stating that any officer who has a substance abuse problem deserves to get the help and support he or she clearly requires. But it was also stated that an equally important issue at hand involves a betrayal of the public trust. Although Gibson was subsequently placed into a rehabilitation program following the incident, there are still lingering questions about his capacity to work in law enforcement.
The charges of intoxication and
driving under the influence inherently call into question whether Gibson is qualified to have access to criminal records and other official databases. Despite these kinds of questions, the officer in question is still coming to work and still collecting a paycheck while the charges are pending. The Fraternal Order of Police released a statement expressing its support of Gibson for "as long as we can".
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