GOODYEAR, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A DPS Major is on administrative leave following a DUI arrest in Goodyear in January.
Court documents obtained by Arizona’s Family shows Major John Barcello was arrested on Jan. 16 at 11:20 p.m. in the area of the Loop 303 and Van Buren Street. Goodyear police documents allege Barcello was traveling 78 mph in a 45 mph zone and had a .108 BAC reading.
The Goodyear police report indicates the officer who pulled over Barcello detected a strong odor of liquor coming from his vehicle and the major had bloodshot eyes. There was also a card in the vehicle that indicated Barcello worked for DPS and he admitted to being a law enforcement officer at the time of the stop.
The officer told Barcello he was traveling more than 30 mph over the speed limit, Barcello replied and said he believed he was still on the freeway. The DPS major allegedly told Goodyear police he had a few drinks but was fine to drive.
According to Goodyear police documents, Barcello was transported to Goodyear Police Department’s Operations Center where he admitted to drinking five to six 12-ounce beers while at “Gilligan’s” in Scottsdale. He told police his last drink was at about 8:30 p.m. but felt fine to drive. The distance from the bar to the arrest location is about 33 miles away.
Barcello went on to tell the officer he felt sober, but would not report to work at DPS in his current condition due to a zero-tolerance policy.
Arizona’s Family asked DPS for information regarding the arrest of their high-ranking employee, but a spokesperson deferred all questions to Goodyear police. DPS would only confirm Barcello is on administrative leave status and did not comment any further. Within DPS, a major is above a sergeant and captain rank.
Barcello has been charged with two counts of DUI and one count of speeding. A telephonic plea hearing has been scheduled for March 25.
"We also hold our officers, especially high-ranking officers, to a high standard because we often see them as exemplars of good conduct in society," says Michael Scott, a clinical professor with ASU's School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
He says a DUI won't necessarily end an officer's career, but that decision is typically left up to the law enforcement agency. Scott says the stakes are high "in terms of public impressions."
"It raises the usual questions, which are important questions, of what conduct do we expect from our police officers when they're off duty?" asked Scott. "So the whole public will be watching to see whether the police are willing to discipline their own."
In 2011, Barcello, a detective at the time, was awarded professional excellence at the DPS Central Awards Ceremony. DPS documents show Major John Barcello was a Chair for the promotion process to become a Captain within the department. He was also appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey to be on the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System Local Board and that term ended on July 24, 2020.
Arizona's Family reached out to Barcello's lawyer several times for a comment, but a response was not received.