SOUTHWICK- A Southwick Animal Control Officer (ACO) was arraigned last Friday for charges stemming from a February incident in which he is accused of driving to a scene under the influence of alcohol, according to court records.
ACO Donald W. Gane, 61, of 5 Island Pond Road, Southwick was called to a scene on Jered Lane on the evening of February 15th to transport an injured dog. Officer Ernest Malone, of the Southwick Police Department, was already on the scene with the dog when Gane arrived in his police vehicle. Malone said in his statement of facts that when Gane approached him, he could smell what he determined to be alcohol on Gane’s breath.
When questioned by Malone, Gane claimed that he was only in the middle of his first beer when he received the call for the injured dog. Malone informed Gane that he believed that he had consumed more than just one beer. Gane failed a field sobriety test and was transported to the Southwick Police Department headquarters in handcuffs. At the beginning of the test, it was discovered that Gane was carrying a loaded handgun with no round in the chamber at the time.
Gane provided two breath samples upon his arrival at the station. His blood alcohol content was measured at 0.07 percent approximately one-and-a-half hours after he originally arrived at the scene. A suspension notice was issued for his license to carry, and his firearm, a .22 pistol, was seized during the arrest.
Gane’s future employment with the Southwick police is still under determination as he goes through the process of the court system.
“Officer Gane’s services are not currently being used,” said Lieutenant Robert Landis of the Southwick Police, “It was brought to our attention that he appeared to be impaired. We treated him as we would anybody else in the same set of circumstances.”
Gane faces charges of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and a licensee carrying a firearm while intoxicated. He was released on his personal recognizance following the arraignment, pending a May 17th pre-trial hearing.