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Report: Colorado officer keeps job after drinking on duty

Posted at 5:36 PM, Dec 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-12 19:36:05-05

AURORA, Colo. (AP) — A TV station says a suburban Denver police officer remains on the job after he was found passed out in a department vehicle after drinking on duty.

Citing an internal police investigation, KCNC-TV reported Tuesday that Aurora Officer Nate Meier was discovered unconscious and unresponsive in March in the driver’s seat of his unmarked vehicle near Buckley Air Force Base. The investigation summary said the 48-year-old Meier later acknowledged he had gone home and drank vodka while on duty.

Police spokeswoman Crystal McCoy said arriving officers were unsure why Meier was unconscious, and investigators did not draw his blood. The stations said Meier later voluntarily provided medical records that showed alcohol in his system, a move McCoy said showed that “he chose to be honest.”

Meier did not respond to a phone call seeking comment.

In a statement Wednesday, the department said the incident was initially treated as an emergency medical situation, and hospital staff did not share information with investigators because of health privacy laws. As a result, a DUI investigation was not conducted, police said.

“No blood test was done since there was no felony committed and a blood draw could not be forced,” the statement said.

The department said Meier, who was demoted and suspended without pay, immediately took responsibility for his actions and has “taken aggressive steps moving forward.”

He also acknowledged that he will be fired if he commits a similar or significant infraction.

Police spokesman Anthony Camacho told The Associated Press that such situations don’t always lead to being fired.

“It’s dependent on the situation,” he said.