Early Sunday morning on Nov. 10, Bloomington police officer Sgt. Troy Doza, 45, was arrested for driving under the influence. He was driving west on Fox Creek Road near Springfield Road a little after 1 a.m. His car went off the road, hit a utility pole and overturned.
Doza had some injuries and was taken to St. Joseph Medical Center, and afterward was arrested and taken to McLean County jail. According to the Pantagraph, he was released shortly after for posting $100 and his driver’s license on charges of driving under the influence.
Police Chief Brendan Heffner stated that Doza was put on paid administrative leave. The department will then have their own investigation on the crash.
“Obviously, he was involved in the crash and we’re concerned about him as a person right now,” Heffner said. “We’ll let the other issues work themselves out.”
It does not seem right to have an officer with a DUI still be on paid leave. Officers are supposed to set examples for the rest of their community to not drink and drive. However, Doza seems to be getting it easy at the moment, and is making it look as if a DUI is not a big deal. He could have seriously injured someone else or even himself if the accident had been worse.
Mayor Tari Renner wanted to make it clear that the situation was not OK and is being handled.
“This won’t be swept under the rug,” Renner said. “We do have a higher standard for our police officers as any community would. So we want to make sure that people realize that, with 125 police officers, we have, overall, a great police department.”
This is the second time a Bloomington police officer has been charged for driving under the influence.
In 2009, William McGonigle was driving 83 mph in a 45 mph speed zone. He pleaded guilty to speeding, but his DUI charge was dismissed since there was inadequate evidence on his refusal to submit a breath test, according to the Pantagraph.
For about three months, McGonigle was paid administrative leave, but when he came back to work he had assignments that did not require him to operate a vehicle. He was disciplined by the department; however, they would not discuss the details. He has now returned to patrol duty.
“It’s very disappointing any time we have a city official involved in an apparent DUI-type incident,” city manager David Hales commented about the Doza case.
“I’m pleased that what I’m hearing is he will recover health wise, but, nevertheless, we have a high expectation that all city officials, including police officers, will conduct themselves in such a manner that they obey the laws and act in a responsible manner,” Hales added.
In a way, it is understandable why Doza is being paid administrative leave, since he does need money for food and other necessities. However, it is still not appropriate because it seems as if he is getting away with the crime quite easily. Many who read this story might think it is not a big deal to get a DUI since they would still be getting paid.
Hopefully, Doza does get some sort of punishment, and it seems he will. It is important for our community to understand that a DUI is a serious crime and should not be tolerated.
The city of Bloomington should not be so concerned with cleaning up downtown by having a strict “no drinking” rule on the party buses. Having a bus where one can drink and not have to drive home is much safer than driving home intoxicated. It’s sad to see our own police department has officers driving under the influence.
Christina Danno is a senior philosophy and English studies major as well as a copy editor and columnist for The Vidette. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.