A Cloquet police officer has been suspended without pay for 14 work days following an internal investigation resulting from a drunken driving incident involving the officer last summer.
Officer Andrew Michael Murray, 34, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving while impaired in November. The Cloquet Police Department has been investigating the incident since last winter.
According to Cloquet Police Chief Derek Randall, the investigation by his department into Murray's actions has since concluded, with the officer being issued a "final and last chance agreement" for any alcohol or impairment-related offense for a period of five years upon the completion of his 14 day unpaid work suspension.
He said officers can be issued this agreement one time following their first offense of this nature, explaining that if there were another alcohol or impaired-related incident, the department would begin discharge proceedings for the officer involved.
Murray was arrested Aug. 6 after the Carlton County Sheriff's Office responded to a traffic complaint of a Pontiac G6 driving erratically. The car sped away from a four-way stop in Carlton at state Highway 210 toward Wrenshall, swerved and eventually crashed near the intersection of Webbeking Drive and Gillespie Drive, according to the incident report.
Murray, who was off-duty at the time, fled into the woods near South Terrace Elementary School and was arrested without incident after multiple law enforcement agencies set up a perimeter, the sheriff's office reported.
Following his arrest, Murray was placed on paid administrative leave due to the pending criminal case against him. He later admitted to crashing and abandoning his personal vehicle while under the influence of alcohol during the off-duty incident. He was sentenced to one year supervised probation and $1,000 fine.
The internal investigation was launched following his court sentencing.
"I am disappointed this officer failed to recognize that we represent this organization on and off-duty," Randall said in an initial statement following Murray's arrest. "Actions such as this are not just upsetting personally; they undermine the entire police department. When an officer violates the very law we are trying to enforce, it weakens the trust and confidence we have with our community."