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WEDNESDAY, DEC. 23, 2009, 4:03 A.M.

Sergeant Brad Thoma terminated…


Good morning, Netizens...

Former Sgt. Brad Thoma is no longer a police officer as of Monday according to an announcement made yesterday. You can read the Spokesman-Review story about his evolution from being a police officer to a citizen here, albeit a citizen with some pretty strenuous controls over his driving privileges. Thoma was involved in a drunken hit-and-run accident in September and was a 20 year veteran of the Spokane Police Department at that time.

Alcohol and driving simply do not mix, and without boring the reader, I will state I hold some pretty-strenuous opinions about anyone who climbs behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated, especially if that person happens to be a sworn peace officer. However, alcoholism seems to be an occupational hazard of being a police officer, according to some national statistics. Of course, one could observe that the consumption of alcohol and carrying a loaded firearm is a dangerous mix, regarding whether or not a law enforcement officer is involved. Thank God Thoma didn't injure or kill someone while driving drunk, because that could have happened.

As things worked out in the court, Thoma will avoid criminal prosecution if he stays out of trouble for five years. He does have to use a Breathalyzer device to start his car which is how he came to be fired, according to Chief Anne Kirkpatrick's statement.

“A valid driver’s license without restrictions is essential for the job,” Kirkpatrick said in a prepared statement.

It is unfortunate that we lost a good police officer with lots of street experience. Some may disagree with that opinion. Some may suggest that the incident should have been prosecuted to the fullest possible extent of the law. I'll leave that for someone else to decide. If citizen
Brad Thoma keeps his slate clean, with no more infractions, he may be able to resume his career in five years. Is that justice? That, too, I'll leave for someone else to determine.


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.