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Published: Saturday, 7/17/2004

Police officer suspended for DWI while off duty

A Toledo police officer cited for driving while intoxicated while off duty in March received a 30-day suspension during a recent administrative hearing.

Jennifer Bechtel, 42, will serve 20 days with the other 10 held in abeyance. She pleaded no contest to conduct unbecoming an officer. Chief Mike Navarre dismissed a second administrative charge, willful violation of any law, during the July 7 hearing.

This week, Officer Bechtel was reassigned from the gang task force to field operations. The chief said, according to the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association contract, Officer Bechtel was in an assignment from which she can be removed only for just cause. He said his feeling was there was just cause to remove her from the assignment, but he would not elaborate.

Gregg Harris, TPPA president, said Officer Bechtel's reassignment was improper. The union will contest it by filing a grievance next week, he said.

In May, the 15-year officer pleaded no contest and was found guilty of DWI in Maumee Municipal Court. She was sentenced to 180 days in jail, with 177 of the days suspended. The other three days were to be served in a DWI program.

Officer Bechtel was placed on probation for two years and ordered to pay $305 in fines and court costs. Her driver's license was suspended for 180 days beginning March 27 - the date of the offense. A second citation for failing to stop at a stop sign was dismissed.

An Ohio Highway Patrol trooper cited Officer Bechtel after he saw her run a stop sign at U.S. 20A and Airport Highway in Swanton Township. A motorist called the patrol to report a weaving vehicle and gave troopers its location.



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