Michigan police chief gets probation for drunken driving, will keep job for now

A Michigan police chief busted for drunken driving during Thanksgiving weekend has been sentenced to one year of probation — and will remain on the job for now, according to reports.

Lake Angelus Police Chief Michael Farley, 62, was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to operating a vehicle while impaired on Nov. 30 in Keego Harbor, where his blood-alcohol level was found to be 0.15, or nearly double the state’s limit, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Farley, a 40-year law enforcement veteran, told an officer he only had four drinks but was unable to count backward from 67 to 49 during a sobriety test. He also reeked of alcohol, wasn’t wearing a seat belt and slurred his words, according to a police report.

In addition to probation, Farley was ordered to perform four days of community service and to pay more than $1,500 in fines. His attorney, Jose Fanego, said the punishment was fair given the chief’s lack of a prior criminal record.

“He knew there was a consequence and he’s paying for it both in damage to reputation and the public profile of his arrest … and finally the court’s sentence of supervising him for a year,” Fanego told a judge. “It will all go a long way to, hopefully, satisfy the public that a crime was punished without bringing out the pitchforks and torches against the defendant.”

Farley must also abstain from drinking booze for one year, submit to random alcohol testing and drive only for his official duties unless directed by a judge, the Detroit News reported.

Farley, for his part, acknowledged in court that he should know “as well as anybody” about the dangers of drinking and getting behind the wheel, the Oakland Press reported.

“This situation is hopefully not going to happen again,” Farley said. “This situation is not going to happen again. It was a mistake, a bad mistake, and shouldn’t have occurred.”

Farley – who was appointed as police chief in January 2018 — declined to comment outside of court, referring questions about his job security to Fanego.

“Mike always took responsibility, took full responsibility,” the attorney said. “Hopefully, they will retain him and he can move on and learn from this.”

Lake Angelus Mayor Dennis Mitchell said a meeting last month that Farley’s job status would be considered after his criminal case was resolved, according to the Oakland Press.

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