Deputy who resigned for DUI, hired by Clare

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

Natasha Seymour, a former deputy with the Clare County Sheriff’s Department who resigned after a DUI arrest, has been hired as a part-time patrol officer for the Clare City Police.
Seymour resigned from the CCSD June 29 after her arrest the day before for operating a motor vehicle under the influence. She resigned prior to any internal review hearing, a release from Undersheriff Dwayne Miedzianowski said.

Seymour employed at the CCSC part-time in 2012 and full-time since June, 2013, was arrested June 28 by another Clare County Deputy, Miedzianowski said. Reportedly the arrest was on Beaver Avenue near Farwell, after a 911 caller reported a car in the ditch.

Earlier this week the Review received a call questioning why the City had hired her. The caller also questioned why her case went through the court system in only a week. He said he was concerned for the people of the area. “That never happens for others, if you or I were pulled over for a DUI, we would not get special treatment.” He said the officer resigned from the Clare County Sheriff’s Department and was hired by the City of Clare within a short time.

Clare Police Chief Brian Gregory said it was true that Seymour was now working for the PD. He said she has been working for the department for “five or six shifts.” He said, “I had no problem hiring her. She has an impeccable military record and is still active in the National Guard and she had a great record with the Sheriff’s Department.”

He continued, “The day we stop giving people a second chance, our society is in bigger trouble than we think. There are police officers and troopers all over the country that have had the same thing happen and that still have their jobs. People make mistakes. Where would we all be if we didn’t get a second chance?”

Clare County Prosecutor Michelle Ambrozaitis said, “On July 13, 2015, Ms. Seymour pleaded guilty to Operating While Visibly Impaired. She submitted to a substance abuse assessment as required by law and Judge Farrell took the results of the assessment into account.  Ms. Seymour was sentenced to serve three months on probation and to pay $1,015.00 in fines, costs and restitution.”

“In such cases,” she said, “the Secretary of State (SOS), is responsible for driver license sanctions; the district court has no authority to suspend her license. According to SOS regulations, a driver’s license is restricted but not suspended upon conviction for Impaired Driving.”

Ambrozaitis went on, “The plea bargain, conviction, and sentence are within the norms for such cases. Ms. Seymour’s blood alcohol content was below what would be considered operating with a high blood alcohol content. This was her first criminal offense of any kind and her assessment indicated that she does not exhibit a substance abuse disorder.”

She continued, “Ms. Seymour accepted responsibility for her actions by pleading guilty to an offense that will have serious ramifications for her, both personally and professionally. Instead of demanding her due process rights under the collective bargaining agreement, she voluntarily resigned her position with the Sheriff Department. This showed me that she put the department before her own needs.”

“It would be a mistake to give up on Ms. Seymour because of this conviction” She concluded. “Law enforcement is a demanding profession, one that has above-average rates of depression, suicide, and substance abuse. Ms. Seymour is a fine young officer with a bright career ahead of her. By dealing with the issues that led to this conviction, Ms. Seymour will now better manage the stress that the inevitable cost of protecting and serving the public. I believe this experience will only strengthen her.”

Undersheriff Miedzianowski said, “I think she deserves another chance. Obviously she made a mistake, but she works hard and genuinely cares about people. Just because it didn’t work out for her here, it doesn’t mean it can’t work out for her somewhere else.

Clare City Manager Ken Hibl said, “I don’t believe the measure or character of an individual should be based on one mistake, but rather the individual’s performance record and what the individual does to correct the mistake. In the case of Officer Seymour, her performance record is impeccable with the exception of this error. And she immediately accepted responsibility for her error by submitting her resignation and apologizing individually and publicly to the local law enforcement community for her error – which speaks volumes about her character.”

He continued, “During my tenure with the City, we’ve had a standing practice of offering an individual a second chance if the mistake they make is not so egregious that it would offend or harm public trust and confidence and if they accept responsibility for their error(s) and demonstrate they’ve learned from that error. Officer Seymour has been offered a second chance. Her performance from here forward will determine whether our decision wise or unwise. But based upon what I’ve seen of her performance and character thus far, I am confident the decision was a wise one.”

Sheriff John Wilson said, “She was a good officer. She did a good job for me.”

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