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Cop drunk on duty is fired, jailed

Staff writer

A part-time Peabody police officer accused of being drunk on duty was arrested Saturday evening by sheriff’s deputies and stripped of his badge by Peabody’s police chief.

According to Sheriff Jeff Soyez, officer Chad L. Voth summoned deputy Landis Goodman around 7:45 p.m. to help him search a 2019 Chevrolet Silverado that Voth had stopped at Prairie Lawn Rd. and US-50. The truck’s driver was from Wichita.

While searching the vehicle, Goodman smelled alcohol coming from Voth, who according to arrest records is a 49-year-old Hillsboro resident.

After completing the search, Goodman went to Soyez’s home to tell him what he had observed.

Soyez contacted deputies Josh Meliza and Joel Womochil.

Womochil was on duty in his part-time job as Burns police chief but switched to working in his full-time job as a deputy.

Meliza and Womochil went to Peabody police department and contacted Voth.

Voth denied Goodman’s allegation but agreed to take a field sobriety test at Womochil’s request.

According to Soyez, a breath analyzer registered 0.128, more than 1½ times the 0.080 limit for intoxication under Kansas law.

According to information published by universities and health agencies, a 0.128 blood-alcohol level typically is achieved after more than four drinks in one hour for a 160-pound person, more than five drinks in one hour for a 200-pound man.

At that level of intoxication, a drinker feels euphoric but lacks coordination and balance. Motor skills are markedly impaired as are judgment and memory.

The drinker probably won’t remember how many drinks he or she has had.

Emotions are exaggerated, and some people become loud, aggressive, or belligerent.

Peabody officer Joshua Wilson was called to duty to handle other Peabody matters while Voth’s situation was investigated, and Peabody police chief Bruce Burke joined Voth and the deputies at the police station,

“(Burke) apologized to us for having to do it but agreed with the arrest,” Soyez said.

Burke took Voth’s badge, immediately terminating him.

Deputies already had taken Voth’s gun. Having a gun while intoxicated is a crime.

Voth formally was arrested by Goodman at 9:41 p.m. and taken to jail on suspicion of driving under the influence and criminal possession of a firearm.

As a precaution, windows on Voth’s cell were covered so other inmates would not see him.

Deputies spoke to a bondsman already at the jail about bonding out Voth.

Voth was in jail less than an hour and was released on a $2,500 surety bond.

Besides being a Peabody police officer, Voth is Whitewater fire chief. Until a year ago, he was a lieutenant with the Newton fire department.

Kansas Board of Emergency Medical Services lists Voth as a licensed paramedic. Although Voth was not on duty as a paramedic Saturday, paramedics and emergency medical technicians are forbidden to work with any level of alcohol in their blood.

Goodman, who has been a deputy less than a year, did good work with the situation, Soyez said.

Just the night before, he said, he and his deputies had discussed how to handle a scenario of encountering an officer involved in a crime.

In answer to a question from Goodman that night, Soyez said he told his deputies he wanted them to do their jobs.

Last modified Sept. 1, 2022

 

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