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Editorial: RWPD stands tall in arrest

Capt. Catherine Trimboli will be held accountable, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. promised after her arrest on DWI charges.

She should be — just like anybody else.

That road to accountability begins in Red Wing because a police officer did his job. Coming up behind a vehicle at 2:30 a.m. Sunday with its taillights dark, the officer stopped it. Trimboli rolled down the window, flashed her captain’s badge and, according to reports, asked him to let her continue to her hotel room as a professional courtesy.

The Red Wing Police Department adheres to true professionalism — not professional courtesy. The officer, joined at the scene by his supervisor, took Trimboli into custody. She was booked and later released from the Goodhue County jail.

The preliminary charge was blood alcohol level over .08 within two hours. The police report shows she had a .14 alcohol level, nearly double the legal limit.

The Milwaukee news media had a field day. That’s in part because of her rank, in part because the woman apparently struggled to achieve that rank and, in part, because the often times controversial Sheriff Clarke survived a tough re-election bid just a week ago.

He quickly took Trimboli to task.

“This behavior coming from a command officer runs contrary to our adamant message of the dangers of impaired driving. We demand that the public not engage in this behavior. That same message applies to those of us who are enforcing that standard. In fact, a higher standard applies here to law enforcement officers,” he said in a statement.

There’s a sense of irony that the arrest came in the first week of a Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety DWI crackdown.

A person is presumed innocent until proven guilty, of course. Clarke alluded to that in his statement: “After the adjudication of the case in Minnesota and the internal investigation here that I have ordered, this captain will be held accountable and dealt with in an appropriate fashion.”

Goodhue County District Court will determine Trimboli’s guilt or innocence and pronounce any legal consequences.

In the meantime, news sites and bloggers have made Trimboli and Clarke household names and the Milwaukee Sheriff’s Office a local news story for a little while.

There are two names conspicuously missing from media reports. Red Wing’s “men in blue” prefer it that way. They stand as a department. They will tell you they simply did the job.

That’s true. They did it well. They’re professionals.