The president of the St. Paul firefighters union allegedly asked for a "break" from a White Bear Lake police officer during a drunken-driving arrest last week, while his attorney counters that his client was not looking for special treatment
Mike Smith, president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 21, was arrested just after 10 p.m. last Thursday after driving from a "celebration of life" event. A White Bear Police Department officer pulled him over for speeding, writing in the police report that Smith's speech was slurred and his breath smelled of alcohol.
The union president told police that he has worked in public safety for decades and admitted that he was going to fail the sobriety test. He asked the officer to give him a "break" and to let his wife drive.
"I told him I was not going to give him a break," officer Jeremy Auren wrote in his report. "He replied, 'No, you can. I made a mistake. I'm over the limit. I get it. I made a bad mistake.'"
Smith's blood alcohol concentration tested at 0.15. The legal limit is .08. He was released from jail the morning after his arrest, and has been charged with two misdemeanors.
Smith's attorney, Chris Wachtler, said Smith sought permission to let his wife drive when asking officer Auren to give him a "break." Smith later called Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher before being booked into the Ramsey County jail, but Wachtler said he was asking the sheriff for guidance.
"They're friends. [Smith] was not looking for special treatment, he was looking for advice," Wachtler said. "He's never had a DUI, he's never been pulled over, he has a completely clean driving record."
Fletcher's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Wachtler said he is waiting to talk with the prosecutor assigned to the case, and hopes they will come to an "expedited resolution."