Mayor Bill Euille calls the arrest of Det. Eric Ratliff on drunk driving charges a blemish on the citys police force, but not indicative of the quality of the departments personnel.
A 31-year veteran of the Alexandria Police Department, Ratliff faces drunk driving charges after allegedly crashing his unmarked city car into a concrete pole at the corner of Gibbon and South Patrick Streets Saturday.
Ratliff lost control of his city-owned vehicle part of the department’s undercover fleet about 6:30 p.m., according to police. No other vehicles were involved in the accident and Ratliff was off-duty at the time, authorities said.
Euille said Monday the incident had left him saddened.
Its not to be tolerated and not expected particularly by public safety officials, let alone police officers more so when they have the use of a city issued vehicle, Euille said. Its a blemish, but it doesnt represent the characteristics of the hundreds of outstanding men and women of our police department. Hopefully, this is just an isolated incident.
Ratliff, who also was charged with unreasonable refusal after rejecting a breathalyzer test, was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital and treated for minor injuries, police said. A court date for Ratliff isn’t scheduled as yet, but the detective is on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation, said Jody Donaldson, department spokesman.
Euille expressed full confidence Police Chief Earl Cook and City Manager Jim Hartmann will address any necessary policy changes to ensure another such incident does not occur again.
This isn’t the department’s first time handling internal allegations of drunk driving. Alexandria’s top cop, Cook, ascended to the rank after former chief David P. Baker was arrested for driving under the influence in Arlington in 2009.