BILLINGS - A Billings police officer has been disciplined after he was cited for drunken driving.
Officer Jeffrey Stoval was arrested and charged with first-offense DUI on May 22, according to a press release issued Wednesday by the Billings Police Department. Stovall was off-duty and in his personal vehicle when he was stopped and arrested in Lockwood by Yellowstone County sheriff's deputies.
Stovall, who has been on the force for six years, was placed on administrative leave pending the criminal case and a police internal investigation, the press release states. On Jun 22, the internal investigation determined Stovall violated department policies and he received the following discipline:
- Two week (80 hour) suspension without pay. Stovall has served that suspension and has since returned to duty.
- Removal from the US Marshals Service Violent Offender Task Force and reassigned to patrol duty for a minimum of two years.
- Removal from the department SWAT Team.
- Ineligible for any collateral duty for two years.
- Incident reported to Montana P.O.S.T. with a recommendation for admonishment and two year probation.
Stovall has, or intends to plead guilty to the charge, the press release states, and has completed all court requirements and he has voluntarily participated in several counseling programs.
"I am disappointed that some officers fail to realize they represent this organization off duty," Chief Rich St. John said in the press release. "Actions such as this are not just embarrassing on a personal level; they discredit the entire police department. It is particularly troubling when one of our officers violates the very law we are trying to enforce. It undermines the trust and confidence of the community. Simply stated, this conduct is unacceptable and not representative of BPD."
St. John further stated: "I take matters of discipline very seriously, especially when the conduct is one deserving of adverse action. In all disciplinary situations, I try to find a balance between discipline and support. In this case, Officer Stovall is a decorated officer with no previous discipline and yearly evaluations that exceed expectations. From the onset, Officer Stovall has owned his mistake, taken responsibility, and taken steps to correct (the) matter. This incident does not define Officer Stovall and he will learn from his mistakes, not repeat them, and continue to be an asset to this department and community."