TULARE, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The Tulare County District Attorney has filed DUI charges against a Tulare Police officer that is accused of being drunk on duty.
Officials said that on June 23, 34-year-old Officer Francisco Garcia had a .18 blood alcohol content (BAC), which is more than double the legal limit. Newly appointed Tulare Police Chief Fred Ynclan said a concerned citizen from Fresno who was visiting Tulare made the report that Officer Garcia was sleeping in a patrol car. The department is also conducting an internal investigation.
“This has no place and does not fit in the Tulare police department culture,” said Chief Ynclan. “I will hold all my staff accountable for any misconduct.”
Chief Ynclan said Garcia clocked in for work at 6 am on June 23rd. After 2:00 p.m., a person walked into the department and used the lobby phone to report that there was an officer passed out in a patrol car. The chief said that the department had trouble locating Officer Garcia so they called him back to headquarters. When he arrived, Ynclan said a supervisor immediately smelled alcohol.
“It was a surprise to us, finding that,” said the Chief.
Officials said the supervisor called California Highway Patrol to investigate and later the chief said a blood sample revealed Garcia’s .18 BAC.
According to a Notre Dame study, a man weighing 180 lbs would have to drink 7 beers in an hour to get to a .17 BAC.
“I have a strong feeling this was occurring on-duty,” said the chief.
CHP cited and arrested Garcia. He was not booked into jail and released pending the court hearing. The department placed Garcia on paid administrative leave.
All of Garcia’s previous calls in the day are under investigation. The chief believes this is an isolated case.
“I fully believe that officers need to be held to a higher standard. The highest standard in my opinion but just know we are human and have everyday problems just like everyone else,” said Chief Ynclan.
The police department would not release a photo of Garcia and did not say whether or not there were previous complaints. Garcia was with two other agencies before the Tulare Police Department. He has been with the department for over two years.
His first court appearance is scheduled for August.