VERMILION - Alcohol and guns. Alcohol and driving. They are never good combinations. A local police officer found himself in trouble after his supervisors say they discovered him doing both.
On Monday, May 18, Vermilion police Corporal Daniel Shupe reported to work, jumped in his cruiser and drove to a police shooting range in Sandusky, where he was to be a range officer. In that role, he's responsible for the general safety of officers and weapons handling.
"I was standing near Officer Shupe, it was just a light breeze, caught a slight odor of alcohol mixed in with some cologne," said Vermilion police Capt. Mike Reinheimer.
Captain Reinheimer had stopped by the range on his way to work that morning. He says he smelled alcohol again, then drove back to the police station to get a portable breath testing machine. When he returned, the captain says he pulled Shupe aside, told him of his suspicions and administered the breath test.
"While walking there, and as he was talking, I could detect another odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Corporal Shupe. I did not see any real signs of impairment," he said.
According to the investigative report, the test was taken around 10:30 a.m.
Corporal Shupe's blood alcohol content level was .049. A second test taken a minute later registered .045. The legal limit for intoxication in Ohio is .08, but the report also states “Corporal Shupe arrived on station at 6:30 a.m. and it can be presumed that Corporal Shupes' blood alcohol content level would have been higher at 6:30.”
"He stated that he had stopped drinking the night before at around 8:30 and was asleep by 9:30 'cause he knew he had to be here early, so it appears to be just residual from the night before's drinking," said Reinheimer.
Reinheimer says he immediately shut down the shooting range, took Shupe's weapon and had another officer drive him home.
"Corporal Shupe's cruiser was at the range and there was no way I was gonna allow him to operate the cruiser back here," the Captain said.
The police chief has recommended Corporal Shupe be suspended without pay for ten days and must undergo ethics and alcohol awareness training. We reached out to a police union representative who had no comment.
"No one has indicated that they've smelled alcohol on him in the past," said Reinheimer.
Police say it will ultimately be up to Vermilion Mayor Eileen Bulan to approve the punishment. She is expected to review it next week.
Corporal Shupe is also the resource officer for Vermilion Schools. Police say it will be up to the superintendent and school board to decide what, if any, action to take.