CMPD officer charged with DWI after being found in patrol car along I-277, chief says

CHARLOTTE — A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer was arrested and charged with driving while impaired while he was in a patrol car, the chief confirmed.

According to Chief Johnny Jennings, Officer Peter Lombardo was arrested early Wednesday morning. In a news conference that day, Chief Jennings said an officer noticed a stopped police car around 4 a.m. on the grassy shoulder of Interstate 277 near 12th Street.

The officer was able to identify Lombardo, Jennings said. At the time, Lombardo was off duty and wearing plain clothes, according to Jennings, and the car he was driving was a take-home police car.

Jennings said Lombardo was given a breathalyzer test after his arrest and blew a 0.17, which is well above the legal limit of 0.08.

“We have an obligation and we took an oath to protect and serve our community. We cannot tolerate an officer who decides to drink alcohol to the point of intoxication and get in, not only any vehicle, but get into a CMPD marked police vehicle,” Jennings said. “That is absolutely totally unacceptable and it won’t be tolerated by our agency.”

Officer Lombardo had worked a half day before he was found, Jennings said.

Jennings said the department will pull Lombardo’s vehicle tracking data to determine where he was. He credited the on-duty officer for making the arrest and said no one is above the law.

“The steps and actions he took and the notifications he made is what I expect of all officers,” Jennings said.

Lombardo has been part of the department since May 19, 2008. He was assigned to the Eastway Division. Jennings said he had two prior minor disciplinary actions, one of which was a driving incident. The incident was a crash where his speed was discovered to be excessive, Jennings said.

Per standard policy, he was placed on unpaid leave and will be cited for termination, Jennings said. That final decision will be made by the civil service board.

Jennings released a statement on the case, saying, “This officer endangered the public in the same vehicle that our community entrusted us to serve and protect in. It is a symbol of trust. I will not tolerate any representative of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department who jeopardizes the community’s trust in what we do every day and the standards we are sworn to uphold. We will allow Internal Affairs to conduct its thorough investigation, and I have complete faith that the outcome of this situation will be just.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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