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Sheriff: No Special Treatment in Traffic Stop of Fredericksburg Police Captain

"The[se] issues were not determined to have impaired the driver enough to warrant an arrest," Sheriff Roger Harris said.

Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office.
Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office.
The Spotsylvania Sheriff's Office has completed its investigation into the Nov. 24 traffic stop of an off-duty City of Fredericksburg Police Captain, concluding there was no wrong doing.

Capt. Rick Pennock, a 29-year-veteran of the force, was pulled over for a "presumptive DUI," said officials with the Fredericksburg Police Department.  No charges were filed and Pennock was driven home from the stop by a co-worker who was off-duty at the time.

Following an internal investigation into the event, Pennock was reassigned Dec. 7, transferred from his position commanding the department's patrol division to commander of the detective division.

The Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office at that time told Fredericksburg Patch their investigation was ongoing. 

Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Capt. Jeff Pearce today released the following statement on behalf of Sheriff Roger Harris.

"On November 23, 2013 a patrol Deputy with the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle for suspicion of DUI as the cause for the stop.  The driver, who was identified as an off duty member of the Fredericksburg Police Department, was cooperative and engaged in conversation with the Deputy as is normal during a traffic related investigation.  During the ensuing conversation and observations of the driver, the Deputy determined that there were other circumstances surrounding the issue of the man’s driving.   These issues were not determined to have impaired the driver enough to warrant an arrest. 

"At the driver’s request, though he was not required to do so, a call was made to have someone drive him to his residence.  The Deputy was satisfied that the matter was resolved, and no further action was taken. 

"Over the past two years, in Spotsylvania County, there were 1,027 calls for service or interactions by Deputies for suspicion of DUI.  Of that number, 270 of these contacts resulted in arrests for DUI. 

“We take driving under the influence very seriously and we have a zero tolerance policy for anyone caught driving in such a manner.  We don’t give breaks to anyone, regardless of their status, position or relationship.

"In this situation, two separate law enforcement agencies have reviewed the facts surrounding this action and no wrong doing was found to have occurred.  Deputies would have responded in exactly the same manner with anyone, as demonstrated by the facts and historical statistical documentation."  

See: Fredericksburg Police Captain Reassigned After Internal Investigation

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louis harper January 10, 2014 at 06:53 AM
thats some bs
jonathan Smith January 10, 2014 at 08:33 AM
Yep new VA DUI laws state "that any officer of the law or friends may be released to another drunks custody when dumbass cops think it appropriate" ....
Kitty January 10, 2014 at 09:26 AM
Apparently you did not read the entire article. Below is a direct quote from the article. "During the ensuing conversation and observations of the driver, the Deputy determined that there were other circumstances surrounding the issue of the man’s driving. These issues were not determined to have impaired the driver enough to warrant an arrest." Unless you have privileged information about the incident, you should not pass judgement on actions taken. "At the driver’s request, though he was not required to do so, a call was made to have someone drive him to his residence. The Deputy was satisfied that the matter was resolved, and no further action was taken.
jonathan Smith January 10, 2014 at 09:38 AM
Kitty, YES I did read the article. Did you? Why was the Captain DEMOTED if he had done nothing wrong? I do not have privaliged info but OBVIOUSLY Fredericksburg Police Dept does. That is why I believe that the Spotsy Cop was showing favor. So when you say "no further action was taken" That isn't true. Further action WAS taken by his superiors and it was punitive.
Kitty January 10, 2014 at 09:42 AM
If you read again, you will find that he WAS NOT demoted. He had been the Captain of TWO divisions and was relieved of one of the commands. He is STILL Captain of one division, which is all that one person should do. Two commands is too much of a burden for anyone.
jonathan Smith January 10, 2014 at 09:53 AM
Then why even mention it if it had NO bearing on this issue? It was because if this issue Kitty and yes being "transferred or relieved" of a command position is a demotion especially when you are "Relieved" of the Greater command and placed in the lesser position. That is the literal definition of demotion.
jonathan Smith January 10, 2014 at 09:54 AM
de·motion n. Synonyms: demote, break, bust2, degrade, downgrade, reduce These verbs mean to lower in grade, rank, or status: was demoted from captain to lieutenant; a noncommissioned officer broken to the ranks; a detective who was busted to uniformed traffic patrol for insubordination; a supervisor degraded to an assistant; a popular author downgraded by critical opinion to a genre writer; was reduced from a command post to a desk job. Antonym: promote
Kitty January 10, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Again a quote directly from the article: "Following an internal investigation into the event, Pennock was reassigned Dec. 7, transferred from his position commanding the department's patrol division to commander of the detective division." Pennock is STILL a Captain and STILL a commander. What is your problem? Maybe a some point in time he arrested you?
shayward January 10, 2014 at 10:07 AM
I hear ya Kitty! WTH! Sounds to me like a promotion! He went from commanding the patrol division to the detective division! Thanks Pennock for your service!
Gary Howe January 10, 2014 at 06:26 PM
"Pulled over for a presumptive DUI"? Must have been some significant driving habits over a distance the deputy followed the vehicle to support this stop. You certainly are not telling me Spotsy just pulls anyone over for little or no reason for suspected DUI without some solid supporting visuals that would stand up in court indicating the individual was DUI are you? We may not know what it was, but common sense tells one it was something! If he were that sick otherwise he could not drive straight, it probably would have been better to call rescue and have him checked at the hospital and never make the news. If he were just angry or road rage and driving erratically, then a reckless driving would certainly be in store. Why demoted? Why call a friend to drive him home? All sounds like fiddle faddle less that the truth to me. Too late now to prove anything and they know it. They can say anything and stick by it. I am familiar with the character of so many people today, not able to stand on truth and honesty, and familiar with how LOE treat LOE and cover up to the point of murder, with these suspicious actions, I am quite sure all is not above board and openly honest here. Two months to concoct a story? I think some are still lying and failing to bring forth the truth. It has taken from Nov. 24 to today to concoct this story and get all on board to swear to it. You can bet the Captain lied his tail end off to protect his life! Well, it is as it is. It is over. They always cover up these things, all of them. If the deputy charged the Captain of Fredericksburg PD, he would be ousted in ways from the county by both his superiors and co-workers as well as Fredericksburg PD officers. Can you imagine - Deputy Doe takes down Captain, a 29 year veteran of the Fredericksburg PD? He better leave town. They would all be after his hide. He probably felt he had no choice without harsh consequences for which only a man of true 100% grit and character could stand tall to. I understand. Look at the LOE in Culpeper that was found no wrongdoing, even by VSP, until society said this is bs, the facts tell a different situation than the concocted story, and he went to court and got three years for shooting the lady in the back. If you have a uniform, you get away with any and everything.
Marcus Lam January 11, 2014 at 03:16 AM
He wasn't drunk he was with a hooker(privileged information)
jonathan Smith January 11, 2014 at 10:21 AM
Thank you Gary, I was beginning to think I was the only person willing to intelligently look at this. And Marcus, I'm not sure if you are or aren't kidding but I found that amusing either way!
1Ronald January 11, 2014 at 07:14 PM
The muddled comment of "there were other circumstances surrounding the issue of the man's driving" leaves an incomplete ending to this fiasco. In the interest of Full Disclosure, the public's right to know has been compromised. It is incumbent upon Spotsylvania to reveal WHY the anticipated charge was later dropped or changed or re-thought or ignored to the point of it's no longer being necessary. Each of us should remember that an informed citizen is the cornerstone to a democracy. This is even more critical in that we live in a hamlet in which "knee jerk arrest" is a sine qua non of "tour of duty" and any suspicions aroused, such as this, need to be FULLY explained as to why the Fredericksburg Police Captain received different treatment than any other citizen motorist stopped for the same reason and on DUI suspicion with no BAC test to clear the air. I see no mention as to if the Captain refused a breathalyzer or blood analysis or IF either was required as part of the arrest stop, again, ostensibly on DUI.
1Ronald January 11, 2014 at 07:28 PM
And, yes, Capt Pennock was not demoted and appears to still be ranked as Captain. None of us have been fully apprised of the issues and cannot fairly comment on this. However, Capt Pennock's Detective Division predecessor, who was busted to Sgt solely because the Dept lost an obscure hotel VICE case in court, raises issues as to why taxpayer dollars are funneled into VICE and not to rid the streets of the hardened criminal much of which is due to the outpouring--the deluge--of homeless people being sucked into the city by those churches hellbent on feeding them and then turning them loose on the rest of us. I'm not talking locals down on their luck, I'm talking from Va Beach, from Florida, and other parts unknown. I feel deeply for this assault on all of us as middle class citizens.
jonathan Smith January 12, 2014 at 12:58 AM
Well said Ronald. I agree with Everything you said, but I do believe there is a misunderstanding. You are correct in saying that the Captian did not lose rank but he was "relieved" (FredericksburgPD's words) from his patrol command. Kitty's argument was that he was transferred to another command but any Veteran know what "relieved" means. I personally believe that it would be so FredPD has plausable deniability. If the S@$T ever hits the fan FredPD can say they repremanded him by "relieving" him of one of his duties concurrently with this issue. I do wish to note that the word PROMOTION wasn't used.... it was "Relieved".
jonathan Smith January 12, 2014 at 01:12 AM
And doesn't the Spotsy deputy have a dash camera?! And isn't that info public record? I personally think it's time to consider a freedom of Information request to the commonwealths attorney, the Sherriff's office and possibly filing a lawsuit on the peoples behalf that will force the Sherriff's dept to actually enforce the standards on themselves that they wish to uphold the taxpayers to. No one is above the law.
jonathan Smith January 12, 2014 at 11:03 AM
After rereading the comments I have noticed that the Free Lance Star has CENSORED at least one of my post! I don't know why but It does make me wonder what is the purpose?!?! It had nothing profanic or offensive. Basically it was me replying that I had never been arrested to Kitty! Why delete that?
Steve michaels January 16, 2014 at 08:56 PM
Smith, it is definitely odd that it took so long to get an answer. However, I beleive the in car camera should be foia since its not part of an on going investigation and the sheriff's office has them. Susan never said if she got the info she requested and if she did does she have the video. The county captain's release did not answer a lot
jonathan Smith January 16, 2014 at 09:47 PM
Steve, I agree and I will be filing a FOIA request. I do find it VERY disturbing (as should every citizen) that there was cause to pull him over and investigate and he was then released to "a friends" custody because Spotsy determined without a bac or breathalyzer that he was oakie dokie Or... He was pulled over WITHOUT any suspicion and released. Hmmmmmmm then there is little or no movement on a response until Spotsy sheriff is prompted by the media. Sounds fishy to me. Roger Harris should defiantly reopen this before it cost him. Especially since he ran on the "I am not a good ol boy" platform!


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