Rough Easter weekend for the LAPD.
On Friday night — the same night that young officer Jose Diance-Cruz was killed in a late-night Sherman Oaks crash — Hollywood cop Joseph Bezak was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving near LAX, reports the Daily Breeze.
Officers from the LAX Police Department reportedly pulled the 41-year-old LAPD officer over after they spotted him driving the wrong way in the Sepulveda Boulevard tunnel, over which airplanes taxi.
He was allegedly under the influence of alcohol when stopped at 4:15 a.m. Saturday:
He was cited for a misdemeanor DUI and released, [LAX police spokeswoman Sergeant Belinda] Nettles said.
Bezak was arrested after airport police officers responded to a radio call that he had been driving a motorcycle north while in the southbound lanes of Sepulveda Boulevard, Nettles said.
Bezak is assigned to the LAPD's Hollywood Division, but it was unclear whether he was placed on administrative leave, said Richard French, an LAPD spokesman.
“If there is a DUI arrest, that person probably would be temporarily on leave, but we cannot verify that for certain in this case,” French said.
Drunk driving among cops is, unfortunately, not all that rare — LAPD Chief Charlie Beck addressed the problem last June, saying that about 21 LAPD employees are arrested per year for DUIs. From his statement:
“My message to you has been that cops count – character counts; do the right thing and you can be the difference. As officers of the law, and employees of the LAPD, you have a responsibility to hold yourself to a higher standard … When we break the same laws we enforce it undermines the trust and confidence of the communities we serve.”
In December 2009, another motorcycle cop was killed after having too many drinks at the L.A. Police Academy bar on payday. That bar is now closed every other Wednesday, when officers get their paychecks and have been known to celebrate beyond the call of duty.
Another LAPD officer, Jacqueline Montalvo, died in February 2010 after crashing head-on into another vehicle while allegedly drunk.