San Jose

SJPD Officer on Administrative Leave Over Allegations He Was Under the Influence While on Duty

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A San Jose police officer has been placed on administrative leave over allegations he was under the influence when he responded to last week’s kidnapping of a baby boy

Sources with knowledge of the investigation told NBC Bay Area that an FBI agent at the scene reported the officer appeared to be impaired, and a subsequent breathalyzer test showed a blood-alcohol level of 0.139, nearly twice the legal limit.

The San Jose officer was one of many who responded to the scene after 3-month-old Brandon Cuellar was taken from inside his grandmother's home last Monday.

Brandon was found safe the next day.

Sources told NBC Bay Area that the officer accused of being impaired had already been on duty for several hours. 

They say SJPD is investigating the case, as well as the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and police give details on alcohol and drug testing for officers following allegations of an officer working under the influence while responding to baby Brandon's case.

“There are strict rules about being impaired while on duty … because there’s a lot of liability with that, and it’s very dangerous for other officers if you made a critical mistake,” said Steven Clark, legal analyst.

Sean Pritchard, president of the San Jose Police Officers Association apologized for the officer's actions in a statement saying "on behalf of the honorable and hard working men and women who comprise the SJPD, we apologize to 3-month old kidnapping victim Brandon Cuellar, his mother, grandmother and Brandon’s entire family for the breach of trust caused by one of our officers being accused of being under the influence of alcohol while participating in the search for Brandon."

"There are no words to express our utter disappointment with the indefensible actions of this particular officer that has dishonored our profession by his irresponsible and dangerous disregard for his duty, he should be held accountable," he said."

NBC Bay Area has reached out to San Jose police, but they declined to comment. 

The chief has now scheduled a news conference with Mayor Sam Liccardo for Tuesday morning to talk about alcohol and drug testing for officers.

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