9 Investigates

Records: Mount Dora officers arrested suspected drunk drivers on lesser charges to avoid paperwork

MOUNT DORA, Fla. — The Mount Dora police chief has sent a directive to his officers, following a 9 Investigates report.

Two weeks ago, Channel 9 reported on a takedown caught on a police body camera during a traffic stop.

WATCH: Apartment building in flames, tenants wonder why they didn’t wake up sooner

The officer and his supervisor suspected the man was drunk, but he wasn’t arrested for that.


Channel 9 has obtained an email that suggests this may have been part of a pattern.

Effective immediately, the Mount Dora police chief wrote in an email Channel 9 obtained, stating that if probable cause exists to charge a suspect with DUI, that arrest is a priority.

WATCH: Central Florida Firefighters grapple with expanding electric vehicle use

He wrote that it has come to his attention that on several occasions, instead of possible DUIs, officers choose to arrest for a lesser charge or allow the suspect to be transported to a hospital without charges, including this encounter with Christopher Rutledge, Channel 9 exposed two weeks ago.

“If there’s reasonable belief or probable cause to make a DUI arrest, guess what, we make an arrest; doesn’t matter how long the paperwork takes,” Mount Dora Police Chief Brett Meade said.

WATCH: Women leaving the workforce: Will this affect the gender pay gap?

But that time-consuming paperwork was an issue for the officers who encountered Rutledge, passed out in his parked car.

They suspected he was drunk, but the officer and supervisor chose to arrest him for threats to a public servant, and he was transported to a hospital.

See more in the video above.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, and click here to watch the latest news on your Smart TV.

Comments on this article