MLT police commander arrested earlier this year for DUI fired Friday

Commander Don Duncan
Commander Don Duncan

Mountlake Terrace Police Department Commander Don Duncan was terminated from the force on Friday following an internal investigation that showed “violations of sustained Police Department policy,” a City of Mountlake Terrace press release stated.

An independent internal investigation was called for by Mountlake Terrace Chief of Police Greg Wilson after a Feb. 1, 2014 arrest of Duncan for driving under the influence; the arrest took place following a traffic stop in Lake Stevens by the Washington State Patrol. Duncan has pleaded not guilty to the DUI charge and is facing trial in Snohomish County District Court in Monroe.

Following the completion of the internal investigation, Wilson recommended to Mountlake Terrace City Manager Arlene Fisher that Duncan’s employment be terminated. Duncan met with Wilson and Fisher on April 22 to discuss the investigation and the proposed termination. Fisher “considered all the information Mr. Duncan provided, however upheld and supported the recommended termination,” the city’s press release stated.

“As a Command Duty Officer, Mr. Duncan is the face of the Department on critical incidents,” Fisher said. “Mr. Duncan’s conduct and actions related to the events on January 31 and February 1, 2014, does not demonstrate the commitment and devotion to the duties and/or responsibilities of a Commander Duty Officer, nor are they representative of the character of the employees of the police department.”

“Additionally, Mr. Duncan’s behavior was a violation of trust and duty to the men and women in the police department and each and every member of the community,” Fisher added.

“Mr. Duncan got caught up in his own complacency,” stated Wilson. “He attempted to justify violating policy by claiming he did not receive training and/or there was not clear policy regarding the duties and responsibilities of a Command Duty Officer. Mr. Duncan owns the choices he made, and those choices resulted in his termination.”

As a Command Duty Officer, Duncan’s responsibilities with the Mountlake Terrace Police Department included on-call duty, to be able to response to emergencies, analyze dangerous situations rapidly and accurately while adopting an effective course of action.

Duncan, an 18-year veteran of the Mountlake Terrace Police Department, had been promoted to a commander position in June 2012.

Fisher and Wilson informed the Mountlake Terrace City Council of their actions to terminate Duncan’s employment with the police department during an Executive Session of the council on May 1, according to an unnamed source.

Duncan has pleaded not guilty to the DUI charge and is facing trial in Snohomish County District Court in Monroe.

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