2 Sheriff's Deputies Arrested for DWI

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated Sep 10, 2009 at 6:09 PM EDT

The Broome County Sheriff's Office is cracking down on people who drive drunk, including their own.

A Sheriff's deputy and a sheriff's deputy recruit have been disciplined, after being arrested for driving while intoxicated.

Action News reporter Gabe Osterhout tells us how the arrests will affect the department in he midst of a county hiring freeze.

Broome County Sheriff David Harder says he's disappointed after the arrests of Deputy Charles Louden of Endicott and Deputy recruit Michael Hepler of Vestal.

Louden was charged with driving while intoxicated by the Seneca County Sheriff's Office early Sunday morning.

Hepler was arrested for driving while intoxicated, by Ocean City, Maryland police on Saturday.

The Broome Sheriff's Office participates in the national DWI crackdown, Over The Limit, Under Arrest.

"The message is the same. Don't drink and drive because even as police officers, you know, you can see they're going to be arrested and charged, so there's no exception to the rule," Harder says.

Hepler was immediately fired because he was a recruit.

Louden has been placed on unpaid leave for the next 30 days.

Harder expects him to be charged with violation of policy and fired.

But Louden does have the right to a hearing.

Earlier this week, Broome County executive Barbara Fiala announced a hiring freeze. But she says she would work with the sheriff to replace these two positions if necessary.

"What we would require is that the Sheriff just send a letter requesting the need and why it's important. public safety and health are very important," says Broome County executive Barbara Fiala.

Harder says he will ask to replace the two deputies.

Outside of health and public safety, Fiala says any other unexpected vacancies in the county workforce would not be filled.

In the Town of Dickinson, Gabe Osterhout, WBNG-TV Action News.

Harder adds Louden's credentials have been removed, meaning he can't represent himself as a law enforcment officer.

While the Sheriff may have to wait to replace Hepler and Louden, he says it's not unusual to be down 2 officers for a short time.

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