Lisa Steed, a once decorated Utah Highway Patrolwoman is now being accused of fraudulently arresting people for alcohol and marijuana impaired driving. She is accussed of falsifying at least 40 arrests over her 10 year career. Many of the people arrested had absolutely nothing to drink. Why would an officer arrest completely innocent people? The more arrests she made, even if thrown out it court later, the better she looked to her superiors. The officer and the department have been sued for making the unlawful arrests. Steed has been fired from her job. Because of the exposure of her practices, the local prosecuting attorneys in Davis and Salt Lake Counties have stated that they would now dismiss charges where she was the officer on the case. Click here to see ABC news coverage of the case.
This is a potential problem in any police department that encourages the number of arrests made instead of convictions secured. Most police departments count only arrests because convictions occur at court which means follow up investigation of their conviction rates is necessary and they do not care to do it.
The Michigan State Police publishes a Michigan Annual Drunk Driving Audit which provides information about traffic injuries, fatalities and arrests. By law this audit must be completed providing arrest data for several different drunk driving offenses (MCL 257.625i). Secondarily the review does report on convictions but by county and not by department or cities.
Police departments must be discouraged from the practice of encouraging arrest numbers without considering the convictions. It will lead to law abiding citizens being falsely arrested.
If you suspect a police department or officer has made an unlawful stop and false arrest that led to charges for drunk driving call Attorney Barton Morris at (248) 541-2600 for the best defense from an attorney who challenges these arrests and fights for your rights.