My Takeaway from Moline Police Chief’s OWI
Moline Police Chief John Hitchcock announced his retirement yesterday after being cited for OWI. Hitchcock was stopped by the Iowa State Patrol with two Moline police captains in the back seat last month.
Moline City Administrator Doug Maxeiner told WQAD, "I think ultimately it was the right decision for the department moving forward." Maxeiner could have terminated Hitchcock's employment or punished him in some way, however, his retirement gets the department out of the negative limelight.
It's easy to wonder how a law enforcement official, a police chief, could get behind the wheel when he's drunk too much to drive. It seems like it's one of those things that just shouldn't happen. Yet, I bet you've done it. I bet I've done it. We all know better, so is it all that surprising it happened to a police chief?
I had an opportunity a couple of years ago to volunteer as a driver stopped for OWI. I went to the police station to participate in the training. The training officers got several of us tipsy on some adult beverages; then let the officers run us through their battery of OWI tests.
At one point while we were drinking, before officers practiced any test on us, one of the officers asked us who thought they were sober enough to drive. Two or three of us raised our hands. Breathalyzer tests were administered, and had we actually been driving, we would have been charged with OWI. That caught my attention and made me way more careful with how much or even if I drink when I'm driving.
Good people can make poor choices. Good people drinking makes it easier to make a poor choice. In my opinion, the take away from Chief Hitchcock's OWI and retirement is this: It's very easy to think you're OK to get behind the wheel when you really shouldn't. Three law enforcement officials didn't recognize that. It cost all three some embarrassment, and one his job. If we make a similar poor choice, the same could happen to us. If you're going to drink, or you find yourself in a situation where you've drunk more than expected. Make the easy choice, find a ride or call an Uber.