In 2007, Lisa Steed was named Utah Highway Patrol’s “Trooper of the Year” for making over 200 DUI arrests. Now, her credibility is on the line for admittedly violating procedure in a 2010 DUI arrest. During that arrest, Steed admitted that she deliberately left her microphone in her car to prevent her supervisor from knowing that she severely deviated from standard protocol by used a portable breath test (PBT) before conducting field sobriety testing.
Steed’s attorney claims that her admission does not affect her credibility and does not mean she is dishonest. Then, what does it mean?
This is not the first time Steed’s credibility has been called into question. In 2009, Steed was captured tasering a man she suspected of DUI on her cruiser’s dashcam 66 seconds after approaching the driver’s window. The man clearly and coherently says “Ma’am, please don’t shoot me with your taser” while still inside his car – seconds later she leans in and tasers him while he is still seated in his car. His BAC? 0.03 – well below the legal limit of 0.08. Steed’s overreaction cost the state $40,000 when the state settled with the victim without admitting fault. After settlement, it was reported that the Salt Lake District Attorney was looking into 31 of Trooper Steed’s cases. Steed’s seemingly impossible 2007 arrest record was topped by her record in 2009 – over 400 DUI arrests. This number far exceeds that of any other police officer in the United States in one year.
With the time from arrest to trial ever expanding, the state must depend on the credible testimony of police officers to convict those accused of DUI. If we can’t trust the testimony of a Trooper of the Year, whose can we trust?
Have a DUI/DWI/OUI related question? Stephen L. Jones is available 24-hours a day. Please call: (617) 851-7153