City police officer sentenced to jail time

Nancy MacPhee
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SUMMERSIDE — A veteran city police officer was sentenced Thursday to five days behind bars after pleading guilty to refusing a breathalyzer demand.

Summerside Police Services

David Allan Murphy had also been charged with impaired driving, a charge that was stayed by Crown attorney David O’Brien after the 46-year-old entered his guilty plea on the charge of refusing a breathalyzer demand. 

Murphy, a 22-year veteran with Summerside Police Services and a corporal, was on leave from his job when, on Nov. 5, he was involved in a two-vehicle collision at the corner of Central Street and Pope Road.

Murphy rear-ended a vehicle that was stopped behind another at the stoplight at the intersection of Central Street and Pope Road just after 1 p.m.

Members of Murphy’s department were called to the scene and immediately detected signs of impairment. Murphy’s eyes were bloodshot and he smelled of alcohol. Murphy initially agreed to provide a breath sample, but when it came time to do so, refused. He later refused a second time.

Murphy, who was on leave from the department at the time due to health issues, was taken to Prince County Hospital, where he spent the night, while under police custody.

Murphy’s lawyer, Mitchell MacLeod, said his client had been on long-term disability for 11 months when the crime occurred.

He was being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and during his leave from the force Murphy’s “issues with addiction to alcohol festered, culminating with the incident on Nov. 5,” explained MacLeod.

He added that Murphy is “extremely remorseful and ashamed” with his “lack of judgment” in driving while impaired.

“His judgment suffered significantly because of his (PTSD) illness.”

Murphy voluntarily stayed in hospital until Nov. 21 “to ensure he would be in the proper condition to enter into inpatient treatment,” said MacLeod.

He then entered an Ontario treatment facility, where he remained until Dec. 21 and where he was assessed for followup treatment for PTSD, which he will enter into in April.

MacLeod pointed out that since Murphy’s return to the Island, he has entered into followup treatment and is “prepared to go to any lengths to maintain his sobriety.”

“He still faces the internal process through his employer,” added MacLeod.

Judge Jeff Lantz, in sentencing Murphy, said due to Murphy’s refusal to provide a breath sample there was no way of knowing the extent of his impairment.

In addition to jail time, Lantz fined Murphy $1,300 and ordered him to pay a $195 victim surcharge.

He is also suspended from driving for 12 months.


Organizations: Summerside Police Services, Prince County Hospital

Geographic location: Central Street, Ontario

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Recent comments

  • Hathome
    January 24, 2013 - 10:42

    I am glad he is willing to go to any lengths for his sobriety, but lets see how many A.A meetings this officer will attend.If he is willing to do this he will stay sober,trust me it works if ya work it

  • Respect
    January 18, 2013 - 21:56

    I have total respect for police officers and it saddens me when something like this happens. We have to remember that they are human just like us and like us sometimes make stupid mistakes and he will pay for his mistake. It is not our place to judge others, nobody's perfect. Where would this Island be with no police officers, think twice before bashing them.

    • outraged
      January 21, 2013 - 07:37

      I lost a lot of respect i had for the police when i read that they knew he was having problems with alcohol and still kept him on the payroll... My point is this guy was/is on the police force. Police officers are human, yes, but they are also the ones who are sworn obey the laws they enforce on the general public. Odds are he's scraped up at least one fatal consequence of drinking and driving from our roads. He knew firsthand what could have happened, and this while is he on the payroll of the very ones sworn to protect us from this very type of behavior. I don't think we should go as far as have an Island without police officers.. but it would be nice to have an Island with police officers who aren't total irresponsible hypocrites... .

  • don
    January 18, 2013 - 08:58

    what a joke. he will still have his job when he gets out of jail. i wonder if he will be the next chief of police. i wonder how many other police and city big shots are picked up drunk driving but never charged?

  • Peaches
    January 18, 2013 - 08:31

    Whether he was on paid leave or not is not the issue at hand,he made a mistake and will pay for it in more ways then one...Who are we to judge him,that's why we have Judge's !

    • outraged
      January 21, 2013 - 07:32

      Who are we to judge you ask? I am the single parent of children that i would like to make it home to and not get killed by some moron who decides he needs that pack of smokes after consuming umpteen alcoholic beverages. I am also the one who drives 4 hours a day to go to and from work. Did you ever stop to think it could have been you he rear ended, or it could have been much much worse? PS yes, it makes a difference if he is still being paid after such a stupid reckless and ILLEGAL act. I sure don't wish to contribute to the defense fund of such an irrepsonsible and negligent person... it seriously worries me that he was still --and may very well still be-- protected by and on the payroll of the police.

  • outraged
    January 18, 2013 - 08:04

    And not a mention about whether or not he's still being paid .. considering when he got drunk and rear ended someone he was on a PAID leave of absence... As a police officer he knew better, knew the potential consequences and did it anyways. and got 5 measly days. And they seriously wonder why nobody respects the law and the cops...?

    • usual
      January 18, 2013 - 09:23

      I agree with outraged. Now wonder we don't respect the law when they have a different set of rules than the general public. I am sure we would have gotten worse if we were to refuse a breathalyser