Aspen Cop Fired for Giving DUI Reporter Ride Home
According to the Aspen Times, Valerie McFarlane, a police officer in Aspen, Colorado, was let go last month after she failed to file charges against Troy Hooper, an Aspen newspaper editor, for allegedly drinking and driving.
When McFarlane encountered Hooper in downtown Aspen, she picked him up. The two proceeded to have a half-hour conversation, recorded by the police car video recorder, concerning Hooper's "favorable" coverage of the police department. (McFarlane had been put on work-related probation in September for using her badge to get free VIP access to the Jazz Aspen Labor Day Festival for herself and family.)
Hooper reportedly told McFarlane, "You have also been fairly or unfairly put in a position. Not only am I willing to give you the opportunity to walk away from that, I'll give you a few of those opportunities, I really will."
Hooper exited the car at approximately 3:10 a.m., according to public records. No charges were filed.
Aspen Police Chief Richard Pryor declined to give specific comment about McFarlane's departure, but said that it is not unusual for an officer to give a ride home to an intoxicated motorist. However, "when officers make that decision it has to be for the right reason, and cannot be driven by a personal agenda."