UCAPD senior officer Jeremy P. Duplessis was arrested for driving while intoxicated Sept. 24.
Duplessis was driving home from the Conway Supper Club, a comedy club and bar off of Highway 65. UCAPD deputy chief of police Glenn Stacks said, “He had met a friend of his out there and watched Monday Night Football.” At 11:34 p.m. Dusty Kirkpatrick, a Faulkner County deputy, saw a black Nissan truck that was missing a license plate light and had “a white light on the right taillight due to a cracked lens,” according to the Faulkner County police report.
Kirkpatrick spoke with Duplessis and smelled alcohol. When he was asked if he had any alcohol to drink, Duplessis denied it.
Deputy Mike Wilkins arrived at the scene and questioned Duplessis about his alcohol consumption. According to the police report Wilkins said: “I asked him if he had been drinking; he told me ‘no.’ I asked him again if he had anything to drink at all, and he said ‘no.’ I asked him where the odor of intoxicants was coming from, and he said ‘probably me.’” Stacks said that although Duplessis did lie to Kirkpatrick and Wilkins, he was very cooperative with the deputies. “He was nervous and his first reaction was to say no,” Stacks said. “He didn’t think he was intoxicated.”
Wilkins administered a horizontal gaze nystagmus test, a field-sobriety test that measures intoxication by examining the involuntary movements of the eyes. The higher a person’s blood alcohol concentration, the more their eyes oscillate as they try to track an object.
According to the police report Wilkins said, “I observed all six clues during this test: lack of smooth pursuit in both eyes, distinct nystagmus at maximum deviation in both eyes and onset nystagmus prior to 45 degrees in both eyes.” Faulkner County Sgt. Wes Martin arrived and gave Duplessis a portable breath test, which he also failed.
He was taken to the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office and was given another breath test and the remaining field sobriety tests, because the site of the arrest was on a steep incline, a less than ideal condition to test impairment. He passed both the one leg stand and the walk and turn tests, but his blood alcohol concentration was 0.08, the minimum blood-alcohol level for a DWI charge.
Duplessis was released to a sober driver. “One of our [UCA’s] sergeants, Mike Hopper, picked him up and took him back to his apartment,” Stacks said. After the arrest, Stacks proceeded to conduct an investigation while Duplessis was on leave with pay from UCAPD. “I talked with Duplessis, the Sheriff’s Department and read the report two or three times,” Stacks said. Duplessis is serving four weeks of suspension without pay from the UCAPD. Two of those weeks are for not telling the truth when confronted about his alcohol consumption, and the other two are for his DWI charge. He has not yet appeared in court.
While the usual consequence of a first-time DWI is a fine of $150 to $1,000 and 120 days of license suspension, there is a chance Duplessis may not receive this punishment. “I know we [police]are set to a higher standard, [but]we’re all human beings,” Stacks said. However, Stacks said Duplessis shouldn’t receive a lighter punishment solely because he is in law enforcement.