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Dwight officer will be reinstated

Published: Thursday, June 12, 2014 4:08 p.m. CDT

DWIGHT – The off-duty Dwight police officer who was involved in a DUI accident in December will be reinstated on the force, pending disciplinary action.

The Dwight Village Board on Monday voted 4-3 to reinstate Officer Watson McKee of Dwight, pending further disciplinary action that will be decided by the board within 30 days, Village President Jared Anderson said Thursday.

The officer is not currently back to work.

McKee' s punishment could likely include a six-month suspension without pay, random breathalyzers and drug tests for the next three years, and active involvement in local drinking and driving awareness campaigns, Anderson said.

He added that any further violation of village law would result in McKee's immediate termination. Anderson said the board plans to propose the punishment and terms of reinstatement to McKee by June 23.

"We acknowledge Watson embarrassed not only himself, but the city of Dwight," Anderson said. "But, we believe he was an outstanding officer and asset to the community and there were four of us who believed he should retain his job."

In December while McKee was off-duty, the vehicle he was driving collided with a pole about two miles west of Cabery. He was hospitalized and charged with driving under the influence and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. At the time he had been with Dwight police for four years and was placed on leave.

Only McKee’s vehicle was involved and he had no passengers.

Last month in Livingston County court, he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and was sentenced to two years court supervision and ordered to do 240 hours of community service. He also was fined, cannot use or possess alcohol or enter establishments where alcohol is the primary business, has to attend counseling, attend a Victim Impact Panel, and cannot operate a vehicle not equipped with a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device other than for work, according to judici.com.

"I have mixed feelings regarding the whole situation. However it is my job to carry out the wishes of my boss, who is the village administrator, and the mayor and the trustees of Dwight," Dwight Police Chief Tim Henson said Wednesday. "I respect their decision and will move forward from that."

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