Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith took to Facebook on Friday morning to criticize the Aurora Police Department’s response to an officer found drunk and unresponsive in his police car earlier this year.
Officer Nate Meier, 48, was found unresponsive in the driver’s seat of his unmarked patrol vehicle March 29 near Buckley Air Force Base, according to reports from 9News.
Since then, an internal affairs investigation revealed Meier violated four police policies, according to 9News, including neglect of duty and alcohol impairment. Aurora police said earlier this week Meier has been demoted from agent to officer and “received significant unpaid suspension” as a result of the incident.
Three responding officers reported smelling faint odors of alcohol on his breath, 9News reported.
Meier has not been charged with DUI and is still actively employed with the Aurora Police Department.
“Meier should have been criminally charged and fired and those who swept it under the rug should be held accountable,” Smith wrote in a Friday morning Facebook post.
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Smith said police officers want two things: “To be stood up for when they are unfairly accused of misdeeds” and “to see officers who disgrace the badge receive their just desserts.”
“… All the good officers there (in Aurora) don’t deserve to have Meier wearing the badge,” he wrote.
In a Thursday Facebook post, Smith noted how other Colorado counties — including Larimer — have fired and arrested officers found breaking the law, “like any other citizen.”
“This kind of BS behavior by the officer and lack of action by the department are inexcusable and are a slap in the face to the 14,000 brave and honorable peace officers across the state,” he wrote.
According to 9News, the police report stated Meier’s car’s engine was running, his foot was on the break, and responding officers said he was wearing his uniform and had his service weapon on him when he was found.
Meier could not be woken up, so officers had to break a window to get him out of the car and taken to the hospital. In its statement, Aurora police said, “there was no evidence located in the vehicle indicating this was an incident involving alcohol” and that officers treated it as an emergency medical situation, according to 9News.
Reports released Thursday show that Meier admitted to going home during his shift to drink vodka. He also told the department he was “impaired.”
Smith also voiced his concerns about the handling of the incident in an interview with 9News, stating: “It looks to me like there’s a few individuals that are selling out the integrity of the Aurora Police Department and of this profession for some unknown reason.”
Sady Swanson covers crime, courts, public safety and more throughout Northern Colorado. You can send your story ideas to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @sadyswan. Support our work and local journalism with a digital subscription at Coloradoan.com/subscribe.
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