Back in 2006, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Stephen Breyer had a conversation about the American police, during which Scalia laid the groundwork for something that would later become known as “the new professionalism.”
There have been wide-ranging reforms in the education, training, and supervision of police officers. Numerous sources are now available to teach officers and their supervisors what is required of them under this Court’s cases, how to respect constitutional guarantees in various situations, and how to craft an effective regime for internal discipline. Failure to teach and enforce constitutional requirements exposes municipalities to financial liability. Moreover, modern police forces are staffed with professionals; it is not credible to assert that internal discipline, which can limit successful careers, will not have a deterrent effect. There is also evidence that the increasing use of various forms of citizen review can enhance police accountability.
That was his “new professionalism” in theory. Now here it is in practice, courtesy of Connecticut:
A former police officer who appeared in court last week on a drunken-driving charge was arrested three more times over the next 11 hours, according to The Connecticut Post.
That “former officer” is 39-year-old John Biehn, of Southington, Connecticut, who was charged twice last Monday with drunken driving. This was before he was accused of shoplifting at Walmart earlier Tuesday, for what purpose anyone can only guess.
The first incident occurred just before 1:30 pm Monday morning, Vernon police said, when they received a call stating that a blue Hyundai Sonata was driving “erratically” — in addition to being on the wrong side of Route 83.
The police picked him up, and he told the police that he was coming from state Superior Court in Rockville. He proceeded to bomb the standardized sobriety test, and the police charged him with a DUI and failure to drive in the proper lane.
He was released from Vernon Police Headquarters to his wife — a current officer in Bridgeport — on a $2,500 bond.
About 18 hours after that, at 8:20 pm Monday, he was back in police custody. This time, facing drunken-driving charges by the Wallingford Police. Like before, he was bonded out.
He managed to be a good citizen for a few more hours until early Tuesday morning, when, shortly after midnight, the Wallingford police arrested the man again in a Walmart, where he was being held by store security and accused of shoplifting. He wound up charged with larceny and was released on a $5,000 bond.
So, for those keeping count, in less than 24 hours, the man wracked up multiple charges, several thousand dollars in bond money, and is still walking.
But wait, there’s more: Biehn resigned from his post as a Bridgeport police officer after he went on “a drunken rampage” at the Marina Village housing complex. This “drunken rampage” resulted in Biehn firing his gun at random targets and breaking apartment windows.
Biehn was convicted of first degree reckless endanger and sentenced to a full year of incarceration, which was later suspended. He also netted three years probation.
Biehn goes back to court on December 22nd.
Meanwhile, Justice Scalia’s “New Professionalism” remains free, cleared of all charges.