AVERY COUNTY, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said one of their officers was arrested by the North Carolina Highway Patrol and charged with driving while impaired.
Police said Officer Tyler Kishpaugh was arrested early Saturday morning near Banner Elk.
CMPD launched an internal investigation immediately after the incident. Kishpaugh, who is assigned to the Steele Creek Division, has been placed on unpaid administrative leave.
He could get fired if he can't drive a patrol car legally.
Kishpaugh has been employed with CMPD since July 25, 2001.
In a statement, CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said, “I am disappointed that a member of our department has fallen short of our organization’s high standards. I expect the men and women of this department will be held accountable when they violate the law no matter where it occurs.”
CMPD said Kishpaugh’s arrest happened while he was off-duty and driving his personal vehicle.
Kishpaugh refused to perform the blood alcohol test, according to arrest records.
As a result, his driver's license could be revoked.
“The 30-day civil revocation that comes with a DWI charge makes it difficult for you to be a police officer if you're assigned to a car and you're a patrol officer,” defense attorney Brad Smith said. “So that's always problematic."
Smith said Kishpaugh could appeal the revocation and continue driving until that's heard, which could take several months.
The department's quick decision to suspend him without pay and announce his arrest are encouraging signs for local activist Robert Dawkins, who's been critical of police accountability in the past.
“It's part of that accountability,” Dawkins, who is with Safe Coalition NC, said. “Sometimes we can go too far, but when you're a government official, I don't know if there is such a thing as (going) too far.”
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