UTICA, N.Y. -- A Utica police officer has been charged with DWI, following an off-duty crash near St. Luke's Hospital on December 29.
It was New Hartford Police who charged UPD Officer David Desens with DWI. Utica Police Chief Mark Williams says Desens struck a median, flipped his car on its side and suffered minor injuries. Desens, who's been with the department roughly four years, is suspended without pay while the criminal case against him progresses. UPD's Professional Standard's Unit is conducting a simultaneous, internal investigation. Williams says Desens refused a Breathalyzer test.
A separate car crash involving an off-duty officer on December 23 has also spawned an internal investigation. Chief Williams says an officer let the Stewart's, sideswiped a car and struck a pole. Williams says it's the actions of the responding officers that are under scrutiny in this case. In both cases, Chief Williams says the message is the same.
"The most important thing in both of these matters is the fact that we don't sweep these under the carpet and we hold our officers acountable and responsible and if they're wrong, they'll be held accountable for their actions."
Williams says if Officer Desens was in the department's narcotics unit, and if he keeps his job, he will be back on uniform patrol.