Brian C. Hill has been the police chief in Clayton, Delaware for a long time now. He’s well-known and respected in the area. Perhaps that’s why officials are confused today as they put Hill on administrative leave with pay. Two weeks ago Hill was arrested and charged with a DUI by the Delaware State Police. Details of the arrest have been making all of the local news rounds, as they typically do when they feature a high
Clayton’s town council on Tuesday voted to place long-time police chief Brian C. Hill on administrative leave with pay, nearly two weeks after he was cited for DUI by the Delaware State Police. An arrest like this is always shocking because police are sworn to protect public safety and driving under the influence is the opposite of protecting the people you’re sworn to protect. The 47-year-old police chief is currently on leave, with pay.
Clayton Mayor David Letterman spoke about the incident on Wednesday. “We’re trying to balance the town’s needs and concerns, while at the same time trying to be fair to Chief Hill.” He added that “We have an obligation to look after our town and its reputation.” He brings up an interesting point that few people take into account after someone is charged with a DUI. The police chief has not been proven guilty by a court of law. Given that fact, he’s innocent in the eyes of the public until new details emerge and courts can take a look at the arrest.
Hill lives in Dover, Delaware and has been the Clayton police chief for over a decade. His arrest came on August 12th and since then the town is trying to find some measure of security since. After all, a sworn officer was supposedly driving under the influence of alcohol. This would be enough to shake up any town. The chief was also charged with failing to remain within a single lane.
The incident has been recorded in the police report and says that Hill’s 1998 Porsche Boxter crossed lanes, making police suspect that Hill might be driving under the influence. It was extremely early in the morning as well, just after midnight near Sunnyside Road. The account of the arrest has not been made completely public yet, so Hill has not been able to tell his side of the story, and he has declined invites to comment about the arrest. This makes sense, as many people who are under criminal investigation prefer and should not speak publicly about their arrests. Doing so could harm their case.
This is a wise move by the police chief. Informational websites like DUIwise.com give defendants advice on how to handle their cases if they should want to contest a DUI charge. Not everyone readily enters a guilty plea and accepts the facts of their case. In the case of DUIs, officers have the burden of adhering to all of the state laws that govern a DUI arrest. A single mistake in one of these cases can lead to a complete dismissal of the charges. Sites like DUIwise recommend fighting a DUI charge if you feel that you have been unfairly accused or treated. It makes sense for Hill to remain silent at this time as all the facts about the case come to light.
The town’s website has been understandably more vocal about the arrest, as concerned citizens wonder why an officer of the law would be operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. It’s important to remember, though, that the police chief hasn’t been found guilty yet or admitted guiltily. Because of this, the facts of the case may be a lot more skewed than one would believe.
While Hill faces his DUI charge, Lt. Carl Hutson will perform the duties of the police chief while he is out on administrative leave. Once again, for now, he’s on paid administrative leave but as more details about the case become more apparent, that may change. Officers of the law who face DUI charges are often held to a higher standard by the public that trusted them to do their job. Hill faces not just an uncertain legal future but also an uncertain future within the Clayton police department. Most of the time, police departments take these charges very seriously.
Delaware itself takes DUI charges very seriously and often imposes a short time in county jail even for just a first offense DUI. It is this way because the law believes that to deter further DUIs, jail time is also necessary. While no one yet knows if Hill will receive jail time for his DUI, it’s certain that it will at least be discussed by prosecutors, should he enter a guilty plea or be found guilty by way of a jury.
For officers like Hill, websites like DUIwise can be incredibly helpful. Few people who are arrested for DUI realize just how many defenses there are for a DUI, even if it is a clear cut case where someone blows over the legal limit on a breathalyzer. Hill will undoubtedly retain good legal representation for the legal battle ahead of him. As these helpful websites point out, you don’t have to give up a DUI case and enter a guilty plea. There are many things to negotiate in these cases and depending on the circumstances, you can get a dismissal of the case entirely or get a reduced charge or even reduced sentence if you agree to certain things in a plea bargain. While Delaware is tough on DUI offenders, they also realize that underlying substance abuse problems may need medical treatment instead of jail time.
Even if Hill is guilty of a DUI, it’s possible that he can get a much more lenient sentence if he agrees to enter into a plea bargain. Only time will tell the future of Hill’s job as chief of police. For now, he’s awaiting the next steps in his case and keeping quiet to the media in Delaware.