This series of events has unfolded yet again, this time in Austin, Texas. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Officer David Montalvo spotted a city-owned vehicle cruising along at 92 miles per hour in a 65 mph zone on the evening of Feb. 18. Once he got the car stopped, he discovered Austin Assistant Police Chief Chris McIlvain - who, ironically, is head of the department's professional standards division - behind the wheel. Then they shared a short and breezy conversation, all caught on camera.
"How fast was I going?" asked McIlvan.
"The first reading was at 92, and I clocked you at 88," replied Montalvo.
"Holy mackerel!" responded McIlvain.
What was McIlvain's hurry? He was headed to Waco to watch a Baylor basketball game with his son. In the video, the assistant chief is heard saying "I apologize" before he's let off with a warning and an affectionate "Take care, buddy."
The American-Statesman got wind of the incident and called up Interim Police Chief Brian Manley for a comment. That was the first Manley had heard of it, and he immediately ordered McIlvain to pay a $195 speeding ticket. Then the chief opened an internal-affairs investigation to ensure that McIlvain had broken no departmental policies.
"I expect officers of this department to comply with the law, whether it be criminal or traffic laws, just like we expect the citizens to," Manley said in a statement Tuesday.
For his part, McIlvain copped to the speeding and seems contrite.
"At the time of the traffic stop, I believed I was in the area of MoPac [Expressway] where the speed limit was 75. I was mistaken, and have received a citation for the violation," he told the American-Statesman.
How does this keep happening? Last November, a similar situation unfolded in Arkansas, complete with the whole "chief doesn't find out until reporters tell him" thing. Then there were these two Minnesota cops giving a blackout drunk colleague a "courtesy ride" home after finding him unconscious in his running car. Did they forget the cameras were rolling, or did they just not care?