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Is it legal/ethical for a ports officer charged with DWI to wear his uniform to court?

F.T. Norton
N.C. Ports Authority Police patch

N.C. State Ports Authority Police patch.

According to George Irwin, executive director of the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police, it depends on the individual agency where the officer is employed.

Calls to the North Carolina State Ports Authority were not immediately returned.

“For me personally, I don’t think its ethical,” said Irwin, retired sheriff of Henderson County. “Under N.C. statute an officer can still have a DWI and stay a police officer. My policy was as a sheriff – you will never work on the streets again. You can work in the jail but not in patrol.”

The question about whether or not an officer can wear his uniform to court on a charge he caught as a civilian, arises out of a previous report of a Ports Authority officer receiving a DWI. The status of that individual case was not clear.

“I can’t think of any agency that would condone an officer that’s been charged with an offense like that to show up in uniform,” said Irwin. “I just don’t know of any chief or sheriff that would have allowed that. If one of my officers had done that I’d have hit the roof.”

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