Two Aurora police officers were pulled over near Torrington, Wyo., Wednesday evening after several people complained the officers were speeding with emergency lights activated and littering.
The two officers were on their way to Rapid City, S.D., to attend the funeral of one of two police officers shot to death during a traffic stop on Aug. 2.
Goshen County sheriff's Capt. Bryan Morehouse told 7NEWS one of the Aurora officers was ticketed on suspicion of driving while impaired, careless driving and speeding. The second Aurora officer was cited for littering.
Morehouse said Bradley Bruce Bickett, 53, was given a roadside sobriety test and booked into the county detention center just before 7 p.m. His blood alcohol level was 0.07, according to Morehouse. He was cited for going 57 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour zone.
Bickett was released to Aurora Police Department commanders just before 1 a.m. Thursday.
A second Aurora officer, Gerald Kirby, was cited for littering after witnesses said they saw someone throwing fast food-type bags out of a marked police vehicle that was driving with its emergency lights on. A Wyoming resident took this photo of an Aurora police car parked outside a local motel in Torrington, Wyo. The driver was arrested for investigation of driving while impaired.
Morehouse told 7NEWS reporter Marshall Zelinger that he suspected the officers had been drinking while driving, but in a search of the vehicle, arresting police said they didn't find any open containers of beer in the squad car. They did find a cooler with bottles of water and unopened beer cans.
Bickett is due in court on Sept. 6.
Woman Defends Bickett At His Home
When 7NEWS rang the doorbell at Bickett's home, a woman answered and defended the officers.
"I'll tell you right now, they did not go on a binge drinking thing. They were working from 8 o'clock in the morning until 2 o'clock in the afternoon when they were told that they could take that car," she said. "They had a beer. They know that they were wrong. Goodbye."
Aurora Police: "Complete Embarrassment
"We're embarrassed. We're in disbelief. It's quite a shock," Aurora Police Sgt. Cassidee Carlson told 7NEWS. "Complete embarrassment."
An administrative investigation is underway within the Aurora Police Department. A posting on the City of Aurora Facebook page said, "This is a tremendous embarrassment for the Aurora Police Department, and certainly not a reflection of the high standard of professionalism that we expect from our police officers. We are taking prompt and decisive action to gather all the facts and conduct a thorough investigation. These officers will be held accountable."
7NEWS has learned both officers have served in the department for more than 30 years. They currently serve as patrol officers.
"When both these officers return on Monday they will be assigned to a non-enforcement role where they won't have contact with the public and they'll be non-uniformed," said Carlson.
The two officers were on duty while traveling to the funeral. Carlson said it's a sign of respect to represent the community at the funeral of an officer from another jurisdiction. She also said one of the Aurora officers had family in the area, which is one reason they were allowed to go.
Bickett was born in South Dakota, according to his booking information.
"If they were problem children of the department, they wouldn't have been authorized by their command officer to take a patrol car out of state to represent his agency," said Carlson
Aurora Sent Officers To Pick Up Squad Car, Co-Workers
The Goshen County Sheriff contacted Aurora Police Wednesday night following the arrest.
"Our chief extended a phone call to that sheriff this morning, not only to apologize for the actions of our officers, but also to thank them for their professionalism," said Carlson.
The two officers were picked up by other Aurora police officers and did not make it to the funeral.
"Both of the officers were picked up by our command officers and brought back to Aurora, and the car was brought back as well," said Carlson.
One of the officers sent to Wyoming to pick up the other two was an on duty supervisor.
"What did that officer, who was on duty, what would he normally be doing instead of driving to Wyoming?" asked Zelinger.
"He was a duty lieutenant; a watch commander at the time," said Carlson. "Those duties were deferred to another supervisor that was working."
The second officer sent to Wyoming to pick up the other two and the vehicle was not on duty and volunteered.
Torrington is near the Wyoming-Nebraska border, along U.S. Highway 85 between Cheyenne and Lusk.
Copyright Report a typo or inaccuracyIf you have a news tip or a follow-up to this story, e-mail us.Copyright 2011 by TheDenverChannel.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.