St. Paul firefighter union president requested ‘a break,’ called sheriff after DWI arrest

The president of the St. Paul firefighters’ union was issued a ticket by White Bear Lake police last week for intoxicated driving while not on duty.

At 10 p.m. on Thursday, a sergeant stopped Mike Smith for speeding on McKnight Road close to County Road E.

Smith informed the sergeant that he was on his way home after leaving a golf course after attending a memorial service. According to a police report, Sgt. Jeremy Auren detected the odor of alcohol on Smith’s breath.

According to the investigation, Smith assured Auren that he had 25 years of experience in public safety.

The sergeant observed that when Smith started the field sobriety tests, he begged Auren if he would “give him a break,” claiming that his wife, who was in the front passenger seat, would drive.

Auren writes, “I informed him I wasn’t going to give him a break.” “No, you can, he retorted. I erred in judgment. I’ve exceeded my limit. I got it. I made a terrible error. I reiterated to Smith that I would not be giving him a “break.”

Smith’s lawyer, Chris Wachtler, said that Smith was not requesting a dismissal of the DWI charge. He claimed Smith requested release after being cited so he could return home with his wife, which Wachtler said would be usual in such a circumstance.

According to the police report, Smith’s blood alcohol level was 0.15 after a breathalyzer test. In Minnesota, a 0.08 blood alcohol level is required to drive.

Smith received his cellphone, a landline, and phone books from the White Bear Lake police station. According to the report, Smith first spoke with his “friend,” then his wife, then Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher for three minutes.

Fletcher stated on Wednesday that he believes Smith contacted because he “just needed some counsel,” and he advised Smith to contact a lawyer.

Smith has long served as a tremendous public servant and a leader in the field of public safety, according to Fletcher.

Smith received a misdemeanor driving under the influence penalty from the police. He was arrested and released early on Friday morning from the Ramsey County prison. According to Minnesota court records, Smith has no criminal history.

In 1998, Smith started working for the St. Paul fire department; today, he is a captain. Since 2009, he has served as the Local 21 president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, the organization that represents firefighters in St. Paul.

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