Police Chief John Calkins of Pacific, Washington Busted for DUI

By Garth O'Brien | August 10, 2008 
Filed Under DUI News

Bonney Lake, Washington. John Calkins is charged with keeping the small town of Pacific, Washington safe as the chief of police. The 5,000 residents of Pacific might want a changing of the guard after Calkins was arrested for DUI.

Calkins troubles began with a citizen complaint about an erratic driver. Bonney Lake police responded to the citizen report and quickly located and arrested Calkins. Calkins is a cancer survivor and speaks using a voice box. This might have prevented Calkins from being able to provide a breath sample to determine his blood alcohol content.

Rich Hildreth, Pacific Mayor, is standing behind Calkins and is certain any breath test refusal evidence will be inadmissible because of Calkins’ voice box. Hildreth is not an attorney, so his opinion amounts to squat. It is also disturbing that he quickly defends the top cop after a DUI arrest. I am strong supporter of the innocent until proven guilty premise, but I would not be so quick to defend Calkins in public until more information was public.

DUI Blog Comments

18 Responses to “Police Chief John Calkins of Pacific, Washington Busted for DUI”

  1. Mayor Hildreth on August 10th, 2008 11:52 pm

    No, I am not an Attorney, But I have looked at the evidence in this case. I am not standing behind Chief Calkins because of the breath test, I am standing behind him for the facts in this case. Those same facts that look to many people as being a set up.

    #1 – The Original Officer who followed Chief Calkins for just over 2 miles, observed no poor driving, weaving or other behavior – he also reported only a faint smell of beer.

    #2 – The Arresting officer, not the person who made the stop in his arrest report has many facts omitted and conflicting reports on breath and other appearance issues.

    #3 – less than 5 minutes after Chief Calkins is released from custody, a call is made to KING 5 news with information only the officer would have known.

    This case will not even make trial, but do you think that will get any press coverage.

    Yes, I am not an attorney, but I take a look at facts before I make stupid statements, and unlike your uninformed comments, mine do make squat

  2. Garth O'Brien on August 11th, 2008 7:59 am

    Mayor Hildreth,

    Thank you for commenting on the post. All of the facts mentioned in the article were gathered from reputable news sources. If you disagree with any of the facts printed by the press I sure hope those sources publish a retraction.

    The fact that Calkins has a voice box should not be grounds alone to throw out the refusal evidence. The court and Department of Licensing will also evaluate the effort made by Calkins to provide a breath sample.

    It seems this case is a lose-lose situation for law enforcement. If the facts you are privy to are correct then a police chief’s reputation is tarnished from the press and the fact he was unlawfully arrested by an inept Bonney Lake police officer.

    If the facts support an arrest then we still have a police chief busted for DUI.

  3. Mayor Hildreth on August 11th, 2008 1:07 pm

    Chief Calkins did not refuse to take a breathalizer. In fact the officer attempted to take it 5 times, but was not aware (nor would he listen) of how it needs to be administered to someone with a Stoma.

    Also the reason no Field test was perfromed is because neither Bonney Lake PD car had such a kit with them.

    A Bloodtest as you know is 100% voluntary.

  4. Garth O'Brien on August 11th, 2008 1:49 pm

    Mayor Hildreth,

    This certainly is sounding like an interesting case with each comment. I do not like speculating, but from what I have read in the papers and learned from you it seems some key investigative procedures were ignored. Of course a thorough review of the police report would be needed to make any definitive conclusion. However, there are some odd known facts.

    I am NHTSA certified to administer the standardized field sobriety tests. The bare minimum equipment needed is a flashlight. The SFSTs include the Walk and Turn, One Leg Stand and Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. Wish I could see the police report because that is definitely an odd reason why the police claim the tests were not administered.

    If the police did not mark the breath test as a refusal because Calkins was physically unable to provide a breath test, then the officer should have asked Calkins to submit to a blood test. If that did not happen then the officer failed to follow procedure, and that greatly benefits Calkins.

    A blood test, like a breath test, is voluntary, but refusal of either test in a DUI arrest will greatly increase your mandatory penalties if convicted. Police officers are supposed to ask if the DUI suspect would like a blood test if the following occur:

    1. The evidentiary breath test machine produces a reading of 0.00, but it is obvious the suspect is under the influence; this usually means drugs;

    2. The suspect was involved in an accident and is at a hospital receiving treatment, and that hospital does not have a breath test device;

    3. The suspect is making an earnest attempt to provide a breath sample, but for some reason is physically incapable of providing a breath test sample.

    If I recall there are one or two more occasions that permit an officer to ask for a blood test but at the moment do not have the time to do the research (maybe my next blog post will be about blood testing).

    Also, there are a few exceptions when a blood test is not voluntary. If a driver causes an accident that results in injury or death, then law enforcement will require a mandatory blood draw. That clearly did not happen in this particular case, but I do not want people to believe they are voluntary all the time.

    Finally, we must not forget that after the officer has processed a suspect for DUI, the suspect has the right to request a blood draw at their expense. Once this request is made the officer must not interfere with the suspect’s ability to secure a blood draw. Typically, the officer will drop off the suspect at a hospital where the blood draw is conducted. The suspect can use that evidence in their defense if criminally charged.

  5. Robert Smith on August 12th, 2008 1:05 pm

    I am a former city councilman with experience with Mr. Calkins. As a matter of public record, he failed a polygraph examination a few years back, when he denied menacing another individual with a handgun. Mr. Hildreth is aware of this. On two occasions he has threatened city council members, yelling at the top of his voice in council meetings. When he took office, his department was accredited. It no longer is accredited.

    Last September he threatened individuals with arrest if they engaged in a First Amendment-protected march. Mr. Hildreth, interestingly enough, sent out a press release saying the march wouldn’t be allowed. Guess what — that makes two people making threats, and that appears to violate a federal criminal statute.

    The city may have lost a document that was submitted to the council and mayor several years ago about Mr. Calkins. But I still have it. The document says that an elected official was creating a public disturbance that reached from Pacific into Auburn and back to Pacific; there is reason to believe the individual had been drinking. Mr. Calkins didn’t breathalize the individual; he had his patrolmen give the man a free ride home — this in the presence of witnesses.

    I note that The Bonney Lake police were reported saying that Mr. Calkins made statements like “Do you know who I am?” and “I know your boss and I know who you are.” This sounds like he is claiming special privilege and making threats. It make you wonder whether the Pacific police would be at liberty to detain Chief Calkins if he were stopped for erratic driving within Pacific’s City Limits.
    Mayor Hildreth wouldn’t allow me to point these facts out to the city council last night; I’d like to see what he has to say about these well established facts that outline a patter of threatening behavior unbecoming a public official.

  6. Robert Smith on August 13th, 2008 3:38 pm

    Comment removed. The individual that posted this comment requested us to remove the content.

  7. Anonymous on August 13th, 2008 9:05 pm

    Comment removed. The individual that posted this comment requested us to remove the content.

  8. Tom Jowers on August 16th, 2008 7:17 am

    This menace to public safety must be stopped. I used to be an employee for the city and was dismissed for allegedly bringing discredit to the city. If the citizens only knew of Mr. Calkins activities which include, falsifying reports, intimidation, viewing pornography on city computers, racially derogatory comments and lewd sexual behavior, witnessed on and off the job they would dismiss him in a heart beat. I will be bringing my law suit to the city next week and my story will be aired publicly.

  9. sam on August 30th, 2008 12:43 am

    The city may have lost a document that was submitted to the council and mayor several years ago about Mr.Calkins.But I still have it.The document says that an elected official was creating a public disturbance that reached from Pacific into Auburn and back to Pacific.

    Washington Alcohol Addiction Treatment

  10. Jim gibson on August 30th, 2008 4:58 pm

    John Calkins is a great guy, a real hard charger. Give the guy a break, its sad the media has tarnished his reputation, how does one ever get that back. A dedicated public servent who goes beyond the call of duty. John keep your head high, u have many friends that admire and respect u!
    Whatever happen to innocent until proven guilty?

  11. Rodney R. Wilson on August 31st, 2008 12:49 am

    My family has personally known John for over 3 decades. His dedication to helping the public is unwavering. Through his blood, sweat and tears he has impacted many in a positive and uplifting manner. Lets not forget his contributions to making us all safe. Lets the facts present themselves before we bash the guy. I applaud the mayor 4 not rushing judgment, like many have!

  12. Barry on September 3rd, 2008 9:45 am

    It appears this case is a lose-lose situation for law enforcement.

  13. Anon on September 5th, 2008 12:04 am


  14. Rodney R. Wilson on September 5th, 2008 10:25 am

    This is a response to Clarks post. Welcome to smalltown politics. B4 the Chief arrived Pacific was in total disaray! He cleaned house, took care of business! I question the validity of your claims! Sounds like you have a bigmouth! Knowing the Chief like i do, i would be concerned. The Chief recognizes loyalty, which u have none! Whoever u our get a life, and crawl back under the dumpster where u came from!

  15. DUI Refusal Lawyer on October 21st, 2008 8:28 am

    This goes to show that even top law enforcement officers are not immune from DUI arrests.

  16. Becca on October 24th, 2008 4:16 am

    One never knows, my husband was pulled over after a WA State Trooper sat and watched him leave a bar, followed him for a block and claimed he did not signal (have a witness that he did). Husband asked at least 3 times for a blood test before and after submitting to the breath test and the Trooper refused. This occured in a tourist town and there was no taxi service so \”SOL\”. Just love it when they frame you.

  17. Christine on January 20th, 2009 1:21 pm

    As a citizen of the City of Pacific, we have come under attack by the Police for, of all things, us being assaulted. The neighbor hit my husband on the side of the head and knocked him down onto the pavement. My husband has muscular dystrophy and this made his recovery long-term. A couple months after the incident, the City of Pacific CHARGED my husband with assault, even though he was assaulted. The charge states that my husband spit on our neighbor, which my husband has denied from day one.

    The police officer that came to take the report did many things wrong, including going to the neighbor’s house FIRST, even though it was my husband who called 9-1-1. And when the police officer believed the neighbor over my husband, that police officer stood in front of my husband tapping his taser, trying to incite my husband.

    After we were charged, we did some background checks on our neighbor: 1) He is a convicted felon for trafficking in stolen goods; 2) he has had numerous charges against him for domestic violence and assault; and 3) he had a warrant out for his arrest at the time the City of Pacific police officer came to the scene. Yet the police officer believed the felon over us.

    To say the least, the City of Pacific Police Department is in shambles. Small town officers with small town mentality.

  18. bob david on February 14th, 2009 5:53 am

    small minds stirred by small town cop arresting small town chief.

    NOT guilty. Lets not forget that DUI laws have been written to give the police all sorts of advantages to winning in court.

    Sounds like the arresting cop couldn’t investigate himself out of a wet paper bag. He gets credit for not making sh*t up and hopefully this is a lesson learned on developing sufficient probable cause/reasonable suspicion BEFORE taking action. It’s a common error made by many a cop.

    DUI cases are extremely easy to win because a correctly written report documents subjective observations. Accurate observations documented on a correctly written report will have a guy CONVICTED long before the breath test is recorded.

    You people should be directing your criticism to the BL police. How many other innocent people have been harassed and charged by inept officers? That is a much bigger concern to me.

    And the Chief? He has had a real life experience and knows whats its like to be on the wrong end of the law. If he ran his dept from that perspective, he would have a lifetime appointment. If he is smart, he can be a real advocate for the average citizen.