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Florida officers decided not to further investigate suspected DUI due to language barrier

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A law enforcement officer in Florida decided to let a suspected intoxicated man go, simply because he didn’t have the proper resources at hand to make the arrest.

The encounter between two Apopka Police Officer’s and a Guatemalan man -who was residing illegally in the US- was caught on body camera footage, documenting the incident as the two men struggled to communicate with a suspect that spoke very little English.

In so few words, the suspect was informed that having two open beers in the vehicle and driving without a license is a no-no in the state of Florida, though it is uncertain just how much of it was lost in translation.

Ultimately, one of the officers felt they didn’t have enough probable cause to take the man in, knowing that the defense would likely use the language barrier as a reason to get the case thrown out.

“I would love to do a DUI, but I don’t feel like being (eaten) up with ‘Oh, well, he didn’t understand anything you were saying,’”

At the end of the stop, the officers decided to call an acquaintance of the man in order for him to be picked up.

“He’s very intoxicated, he has a bunch of open containers in the vehicle,” Wood can be heard saying on the phone. “He said he’s been drinking (and) he has no driver’s license.”

The situation left APD brass disappointed that their officers couldn’t crack down on DUIs, which has been a major focus of the department.

“This is disappointing. We try to rise up a little higher in our professionalism in how we investigate crimes,” Apopka police Capt. Randy Fernandez said.

Sadly, all things roll downhill, and police work is no exception. With that in mind, what could have been done to take charge of this situation? Would having the right tools have turned this scenario into an arrest and one more drunk driver off the street?

Had Wood and McEachnie been armed with the Pocket Brainbook app, the answer may very well have been “yes.”

A vast resource at your fingertips, the Pocket Brainbook app is an expansive, digital version of the popular Pocket Brainbooks, the ultimate in portable police reference books. Developed for cops, by cops, the Pocket Brainbook app takes it’s analog variant to a whole new level.

From region-specific and federal codes references to the ability to translate messages to many of those who don’t speak America’s de facto language.

In addition to these fantastic features, the app can also provide a database of street names and information for different kinds of drugs, aiding in the cleaning up of the streets and potentially saving countless lives- including your own.

Around this great nation, agencies issue cellular devices to their sworn law enforcement officers. The Pocket Brainbook is a true “force multiplier,” an asset that is far too valuable to overlook.

Even in the unfortunate scenario involving the Apopka Police and the inebriated illegal immigrant, the Pocket Brainbook would have given the officers what they needed to not only communicate with the suspect but perform a field sobriety test and even look up specific codes to warrant an arrest.

Had the Pocket Brainbook been utilized, the officers would have had a successful arrest, rather than a public embarrassment.

Free to download, the complete version of the Pocket Brainbook app can be unlocked for less than $4.00- less than a cup of coffee. You’ve spent far more for much less.

Other features include traffic investigation charts, testifying tips, an age calculator, less-lethal device information, gang slang, field sobriety tests and so much more.

Much like your sidearm and radio, knowledge is a powerful tool. You wouldn’t leave home without the former, so why deprive yourself of the latter? Download the Pocket Brainbook App today and see what you’ve been missing.

This article is sponsored by Pocket Brainbook, the all-in-one app for police officers.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Like so many things these days, this article was fake news. The officers never saw the driver in the vehicle. The driver aced the FST’s. And idk of any Florida officer that could make a no DL arrest off of a wheel-witness (could you imagine the tit-for-tat that would take place between pissed off couples). And Captain Fernandez is no shining example of professionalism. Maybe the news should re-examine their facts… Take a look at why Fernandez was fired from Apopka FD before being appointed to Captain (now deputy chief) at Apopka PD…cronyism in its worst form. For a look at Fernandez’s past antics:

    http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2007-05-17/news/FIRECHIEF17_1_anderson-apopka-fernandez

  2. Pocket Brainbook is nice however… Like so many things these days, this article was fake news. The officers never saw the driver in the vehicle. The driver aced the FST’s. And idk of any Florida officer that could make a no DL arrest off of a wheel-witness (could you imagine the tit-for-tat that would take place between pissed off couples). And Captain Fernandez is no shining example of professionalism. Maybe the news should re-examine their facts… Take a look at why Fernandez was fired from Apopka FD before being appointed to captain (now deputy chief) at Apopka PD…cronyism in its worst form. For a look at Fernandez’s past antics:

    http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2007-05-17/news/FIRECHIEF17_1_anderson-apopka-fernandez

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