Wendy Halloran’s latest installment on the continuing saga of Rick Van Galder the disgraced Mesa PD lieutenant has many people scratching their heads.
Judge John Hudson agreed that Super Extreme Drunk Driver Van Galder had received special treatment. But the charge that would have impacted the validity of his jail stay was fraud against the court. Because he was not charged with fraud, Judge Hudson let Van Galder’s vacay go on record as time served.
“It would be a different story — never has the state presented Scottsdale defrauded the court with the information,” said Judge Hudson.
It isn’t just the people of Scottsdale and surrounding areas who should be concerned by how this has played out. This is an affront to anyone who has done time for drunk driving in that or any other jail. Millions of drunk drivers have submitted themselves to their punishment with no hope of any special treatment. They certainly didn’t eat takeout in the Control Room and sleep in an office during their jail stay.
As for losing his job, don’t feel too sorry for him. Despite the flagrant threat to public safety Van Galder posed, he was allowed to retire! Rick will receive his full retirement benefits which include a lump-sum Deferred Retirement Option Plan. Police unions make it nearly impossible to fire an experienced police officer no matter what threat they pose to you and me. It matters because those benefits and retirement plans are paid for by the same people whose lives Van Galder chose to threaten.
But the WORST part of all this is that Rick Van Galder is probably driving again.
The Arizona DOT suspends licenses of drunk drivers, but they REVOKE drivers licenses of extreme (over .15 BAC) DUI drivers. They set a limit of .20 BAC for Super Extreme DUI. Van Galder was beyond extremely drunk. At a .30 BAC, his was a Super Extreme DUI.
Currently, the Arizona DOT website has no information on Super Extreme DUI. So I called to find out the difference between penalties for Extreme DUI vs Super Extreme DUI. Surprisingly, they were not able to give answers beyond “higher fines and longer revocation period.”
Since he was arrested February 12, 2016, his license revocation likely ended last month. If he applied for reinstatement of his license right away, he could be shopping for an ignition interlock device by now. Any car that he drives must have an ignition interlock device (IID) for the next two years. Rick’s wife Teresa is not restricted in this way. After all, she was not driving drunk that night and was not arrested. At least one of their cars will not have IID. Theresa has been doing most of their driving for the last year anyway. Not that that’s a good thing! But once Rick’s car has an IID, if he were to be caught driving his wife’s car even sober, he would have to keep the IID on his car longer.
In some states, as many as 50% of drivers ordered to install iid on their cars fail to do so! With the attention his case received, Rick is very likely to be among those who do go through with the installation. But will he be one of the many who attempt to tamper with their device, or simply drive other vehicles? There is a good chance that after getting away with arranging for and receiving special treatment of his jail stay, Van Galder will drive what he wants when he wants. He has clearly shown his disregard for public safety and his desire to minimize the impact of his penalties.
The point of all the penalties drunk drivers face is to change their relationship with alcohol. It is a spanking intended to teach them that a solid wall must be built in their minds separating drinking from driving; the kind of wall most of us can build without first getting spanked. I have one. You probably have one. Has Rick built his yet?