Veteran Tacoma police sergeant faces DUI charge

A veteran Tacoma police officer has been charged with driving under the influence after crashing his personal car into another vehicle while off duty earlier this month.

Sgt. David W. Alred, 52, who has been with the department for 23 years and received a Medal of Merit in 2004, was charged Dec. 16 with one count of DUI, a gross misdemeanor.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 4 in Pierce County District Court.

Alred was placed on paid administrative leave Dec. 13 and will remain on leave until the department’s Internal Affairs Division completes an investigation into the matter, department spokesman Mark Fulghum said Tuesday.

Once the investigation is completed, it will be sent to Chief Don Ramsdell for review and a decision on any disciplinary action, Fulghum said.

Alred drove into the rear of a vehicle that was stopped at a red light at South Pine and Center streets Dec. 12, according to court documents.

Asked by a Tacoma police officer at the scene what had happened, Alred said, “The guy stopped in front of me,” according to the court document.

The investigating officer said in his report that he could smell alcohol on Alred and his eyes were “watery.” Alred “stumbled to the point of nearly falling” when he exited his car and declined to perform field sobriety tests, the officer said.

Alred told the officer he had been drinking, saying he had “three beers,” according to the police report.

Two breath tests estimated his blood-alcohol level at 0.227 each time. The legal limit for driving in the state is 0.08.

In 2000, the local Red Cross named Alred one of its Real Heroes after he and another officer saved the life of a young child.