Bastrop County, TX -- Deputy Fred Ensinger is trying to make a name for himself in Bastrop county, Texas. He donned the sheriff’s uniform last September, after starting as a jailer in May. He is also running for the county’s Precinct 3 Commissioner as the Republican candidate.
However, he's going about it the wrong way. Winning the trust and respect of local citizens won't happen if you keep getting found drunk in your patrol car while on duty.
When Ensinger radioed in Friday morning, dispatchers noticed that his speech was “slurred” and did not make sense. Doing the responsible thing, they notified the Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office.
At around 8:30 in the morning, a sergeant found Ensinger sitting in his car at a mobile home park, smelling of alcohol, next to a backpack with an open bottle of vodka and an empty bottle of prescription pills.
The sergeant did the brave and responsible thing by arresting Ensinger, just like any other citizen, and took him to the sheriff’s office for testing. He underwent a breathalyzer test but refused a blood draw. Texas law requires a person to take a breath or blood test if they are arrested for a DWI.
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After the breath test, Ensinger was booked into the county jail for driving while intoxicated with an open container. It does not appear that the prescription pill bottle was a matter of concern for the department, however. Ensinger was released on a $10,000 bond.
Deputy Ensinger is on paid administrative leave while the department “investigates the incident.” There does not seem to be much more to find out, considering the details already recorded in the sergeant’s affidavit. Since Ensinger was booked into jail, it is assumed that his breath test was above the legal limit. One would assume that a cop being drunk on duty in a patrol car would result in his termination.
In neighboring Austin, the Police Chief has implemented a zero-tolerance policy to drunk driving for officers and support staff, even if criminal charges are dismissed. An employee will be automatically fired if the investigation finds that he or she drove drunk.
Ensinger's campaign as Precinct 3 Commissioner is likely dead in the water, unless constituents feel that somehow his behavior was excusable. The Republican chairman seems to think that nothing is certain.
“I cannot comment on the accuracy of the charges but certainly our conduct as officeholders or candidates does matter to the voting public,” said Bastrop County Republican Party Chairman Albert Ellison.
Drunk driving appears to be a common behavior for these politicians. The guy who beat Ensinger in 2012, John Klaus, was arrested for DWI just weeks into his term and he is still the commissioner.