Cincinnati on-duty officer accused of being under the influence

Andrew Smith, Photo from '00
Andrew Smith, Photo from '00

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A Cincinnati cop has been accused of being intoxicated while on-duty.

Police say that Sgt. Andre Smith failed an unscheduled drug test given to Smith and nine other officers on Thursday. The test was a part of a drug and alcohol test given district-wide every month to a random group of officers. Smith failed the test with alcohol in his system. He had showed up to take the breathalyzer in his marked cruiser.

Smith was on-duty at the time. Capt. Paul Humphries says officers who were with Smith did not notice any signs of intoxication. He says Smith was given the test more than once.

Smith's police powers have been suspended. No criminal charges have been filed. Humphries says according the Ohio Revised Code Smith cannot be charged criminally because there was no probable cause to give the test and because the test was not voluntary.  The investigation has been handed over to CPD's Professional Standards Section for investigation.

"We know that we're accountable to the citizens of Cincinnati. We hold a very important position in this community," Captain Paul Humphries told FOX19. "We serve at the pleasure of the community. We don't have legitimacy without them so it's up to us to maintain that trust and that faith in the community that's why we have random drug testing, that's why we have so many rules."

FOX19 questioned Humphries whether Smith's personnel file obtained by FOX19 is typical of a veteran of his years.

"There's a wide spectrum, but for 25 years I would say no," Humphries said.

The file includes multiple suspensions and reprimands.

"I would say that there's more activity in there," Humphries said.

Even still, the captain stands behind the department's handling of each incident referenced.

"We have followed the disciplinary process throughout his career," Cpt. Humphries emphasized. "We have criteria that we have to follow so that there is no subjective 'We like this person so we're going to allow them to stay. We don't like this person so for a minor violation we're going to kick them off the force.' We have to follow the rules."

This is not the first time Smith has made headlines.

In 1997, Sgt. Smith shot a man in the leg after traffic stop turned foot chase. The shooting was ultimately ruled as justified.

In 2000, he made headlines for accusing Cincinnati's then Police Chief Thomas Streicher of referring to him using a racial slur.

"I was called a racist name and the Chief simply walked away," Smith said in a clip from FOX19's video archive.

According to his personnel file and Hamilton County court records, in 2010 Smith was charged by Forest Park Police with operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol which was eventually amended to reckless operation of a motor vehicle.

Humphries says it is possible Smith could lose his job, but says currently that outcome is unlikely. He says Smith is expected to face administrative punishments for rule violations.

CPD added the random breathalyzer test within the last two years. Humphries says no other officers have tested positive for alcohol within that time.

His last performance review notes he needs improvement for attendance noting he "frequently runs late for his shift" and asks off on short notice. The reviewer also notes needed improvement in Smith's work product saying he "needs to increase his sense of urgency in relation to administrative tasks."

In our commitment to balanced news, FOX19 tried to contact Smith but as of the Thursday evening there was no response.  Smith's file also includes a number of commendations from the community for his good work. According to his latest review he met or exceeded most department standards.

Copyright 2012 WXIX. All rights reserved.