UHP's Lt. Swain Resigns Amid Drunk Driving Charge
June 30th, 2006 @ 4:13pm
John Daley Reporting
He was perhaps Utah's leading figure when it came to fighting drunk driving. Now he's out of a job after getting busted himself. The commander of the UHP's DUI team resigned this afternoon. He's charged with driving drunk.
UHP held a press conference this afternoon to announce that Fred Swain has resigned after being charged with drunk driving. Swain was arrested June 23 after Draper police responded to a crash on Bangerter Highway at about 2:30 a.m. near 400 West.
He crashed into a concrete barrier in his unmarked police cruiser. His alcohol level was reported to be .116. The legal limit is .08. Today he turned in his resignation.
Col. Scott Duncan, Press Conference: "We understand that people in this state, in this country should be shocked over something like this because we certainly were. They should be angry. This is a violation of public trust. They should feel betrayed. And I don't know if they'll feel embarrassed, but we certainly are."
Colonel Scott Duncan of UHP said stress from the job could be a factor in Swain's drinking. He says Lt. Swain had a number of responsibilities at UHP, besides heading up the anti-Drunk Driving campaign.
Lt. Swain apparently admitted his boss that he has had a drinking problem for a couple years and realizes he needs to get it taken care of.
Col. Duncan says Swain won't be returning at any point in the future.
UHP also reminds the public that they will be enforcing drunk driving laws over the holiday weekend. This case is a stark reminder of the problem of driving while drunk http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_4001814
UHP veteran accused of DUI quits
By Lisa Rosetta
The Salt Lake Tribune
A Utah Highway Patrol lieutenant who crashed his unmarked police cruiser and was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving last week resigned Friday and admitted he has struggled with a drinking problem for more than two years.
UHP Col. Scott Duncan said Fred Swain - a 15-year UHP veteran who for the last years oversaw the DUI, K-9, criminal interdiction and emergency response units - quit "because it's the right thing to do."
In his letter of resignation, the 41-year-old Swain wrote, "My behavior has not been consistent with the best traditions and requirements of the department. I can only do the right thing from this day forward. I'm in need of correcting my behavior and becoming once again the type of person I once was not so long ago."
Swain told Duncan the pressures of his responsibilities contributed to his drinking problem.
His admission shocked his colleagues.
"Anyone who worked around Fred Swain would tell you they had no idea this was going on - no idea," Duncan said.
On June 23, Swain was westbound on Bangerter Highway, near 400 West, in a 1999 Ford Crown Victoria when he veered off the right shoulder, overcorrected and hit a concrete barrier that separates the east- and westbound lanes, according to police.
While Swain told Draper police officers he had fallen asleep at the wheel, they suspected he had been drinking. He declined medical attention several times and said it wasn't necessary for him to contact his UHP supervisors about the crash, police said.
Draper officer Kevin Easter said Swain was "acting strange" and wouldn't stand near officers or troopers as they questioned him. Easter detected an odor of alcohol about Swain, "who was very impaired" as he filled out a witness statement, according to Easter's report.
Swain, who denied he had been drinking, eventually submitted to a field sobriety test and a portable breath test. The test, taken about two hours after the crash, showed Swain's blood-alcohol level was nearly 0.12 percent - well above Utah's legal limit of 0.08 percent.
The UHP on Friday was still trying to determine where Swain had been drinking prior to getting into his cruiser. If Swain had been at a bar - the accident occurred about 2:25 a.m., not long after taverns must close in Utah - he would have violated the UHP policy of taking department-issued vehicles to bars, Duncan said.
The incident went unreported to the public until Thursday, when it was leaked to the news media.
Duncan said his agency did not alert the public right away because he thought it would be best to wait until the department's internal investigation was completed and Swain's DUI case was adjudicated.
"There is no way we'd think of covering something like this up," he said.
Duncan said the UHP will continue its internal affairs investigation of the accident, which will likely wrap up by the end of next week. The results of that investigation will then be subpoenaed by Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), which will determine if Swain's police officer certification will be revoked or suspended.
The colonel said it is likely the UHP would have terminated Swain if he had not resigned.
"His career is over," Duncan said. "I don't know if it's over forever, but it's certainly over with us."
While Swain has been a "great employee" and served Utah honorably, Duncan said, his behavior has undermined the public trust in the UHP - and it will be difficult to earn that back.
"They [the public] should feel betrayed," Duncan said. "I don't know if they feel embarrassed, but we certainly are."
Duncan said the UHP will move quickly to fill Swain's position on the four squads he oversaw, and he reassured the public the department will continue to vigorously enforce drunken driver laws, especially this holiday weekend.
"We're not going to back down from enforcing the
law," he said.
If convicted of DUI, a class B misdemeanor, Swain could face up to ,850 in fines, 180 days in jail and lose his driver's license. email@example.com http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0
Trooper quits over DUI flap
Swain's UHP career is over, his supervisor says
By Pat Reavy
Deseret Morning News
TAYLORSVILLE — The head of the Utah Highway Patrol's DUI squad, who was charged last week with drunken driving, has resigned.
Lt. Fred Swain Lt. Fred Swain submitted his resignation letter Friday morning.
"My behavior has not been consistent with the best requirements of the department," he wrote. "I can only do the right thing from this day forth. I am in need of correcting my behavior and becoming once again the type of person I once was not so long ago."
Swain was arrested for investigation of drunken driving June 23 after crashing his unmarked patrol car into a concrete barrier on the Bangerter Highway near 400 West. His blood alcohol content was 0.116, more than the state limit of 0.08, according to a police report. Swain was not injured in the crash and said he had fallen asleep at the wheel.
"His career is over," UHP Col. Scott Duncan said Friday in announcing the resignation.
Although Swain can apply to be an officer at another agency if he wants to, he will never again work for the Utah Highway Patrol.
An internal investigation into the incident was continuing Friday. Duncan said the investigation would look into the circumstances of that evening. Until the investigation is completed, Duncan said he couldn't comment on what Swain was doing prior to the crash.
But he said that Swain had admitted to him Friday that he had been battling a drinking problem for the past two years.
"No one had any idea it was happening," Duncan said.
Swain, who was head of four squads with the Department of Public Safety, including DUI, SWAT and K9s, performed all his duties successfully during those two years, just as he had done for the past 15 years, Duncan said.
Swain said that while the pressures of his numerous responsibilities may have helped fuel his drinking problem, they weren't the root cause of it.
"He's not using it as an excuse," Duncan said.
The drunken-driving incident wasn't discovered by the media until nearly a week after it happened. Duncan said administrators struggled with whether to release the information immediately or wait until the internal investigation was completed. But he stressed there was never an attempt to hide what happened.
"There's no way we'd ever think of trying to cover something like this up," Duncan said.
Swain still faces a court hearing for his misdemeanor charge.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13626384/
Utah’s top DUI cop cited for DUI
Commander of Highway Patrol drunken driving unit reportedly blows 0.12
Updated: 6:55 p.m. MT June 30, 2006
SALT LAKE CITY - The commander of the Utah Highway Patrol's drunken driving unit has been cited for driving under the influence of alcohol after crashing his cruiser into a concrete barrier, authorities said.
Lt. Fred Swain veered off the shoulder of a highway in Draper early June 23, overcorrected and hit the barrier that separates the lanes, Lt. Doug McCleve said Thursday.
Swain said he fell asleep at the wheel, but officers suspected he had been drinking, said Draper police Sgt. Scott Peck. Swain refused to submit to a breathalyzer test until two patrol captains talked to him, Peck said.
The test showed that Swain's blood-alcohol level was nearly 0.12 percent, Peck said. Utah's legal limit is 0.08 percent.
Swain was placed on paid administrative leave while the patrol conducts an internal investigation.
Contacted by KSL-TV on Thursday, Swain said it was not in his best interest to comment.
Draper police investigated the incident. It's common for law enforcement agencies to ask another agency to investigate incidents involving their own personnel. Draper is about 19 miles south of Salt Lake City.