Pembroke Pines police say that late last night, they saw something, uh, fairly troubling on the highway: a North Bay Village police cruiser careening northbound in the southbound lanes on U.S. 27. Concerned, cops pulled their fellow officer over and apparently found North Bay Village Sgt. James McVay sitting in the car in plainclothes, apparently far too drunk to be behind the wheel of a car. Multiple TV news outlets today reported that McVay was arrested last night.
"The North Bay Village Police Department was made aware that one of our Officers was arrested last night by the Pembroke Pines Police Department for Driving Under the Influence," the department said in a media release. "The NBVPD has zero tolerance for this offense nor any other criminal behavior. These actions are contrary to the values of the Police Department, and the entire Village."
According to an arrest report obtained by New Times, a Pembroke Pines cop says he was sitting stationary with a radar gun when McVay drove past with his sirens on and going the wrong way on the highway. The cop says he gave chase and noticed McVay "obviously swerving." When the officer put on his own lights and siren, he cop says, McVay stuck his hand out of his window and waved. The officer says McVay finally stopped his cruiser by a median and stepped out — but he was unable to stand straight, and the officers had to help hold him up. Cops say they saw vomit on his chest and right leg.
"He randomly stated that he was fucked up," the arrest form notes. Cops said McVay also asked to pee in the grass by the highway. After McVay underwent a brief medical evaluation inside an ambulance, the officers arrested him.
McVay bonded out of Broward County's main jail in Fort Lauderdale earlier today. But apparently, he has been caught drinking on the job before. In 2017, the night Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida, a series of North Bay Village cops spent the evening slamming beers at city hall, according to a 2018 Miami Herald story. Per the Herald, the city set up a 12-person "landfall team" to help residents during the Category 4 storm, but six of the 12 cops spent the night drinking Corona Light instead of helping people with medical emergencies and other urgent issues.
The Herald learned McVay was one of the six officers who admitted to drinking beers while they were supposed to be helping residents survive the storm. North Bay Village PD's internal affairs bureau reprimanded the men and forced them to forfeit accrued work time, but IA investigators claimed nobody got too drunk to work that night. Another cop, Walter Sajdak, told investigators McVay said he had taken only a single sip of beer before becoming "uncomfortable" at the idea of drinking during the storm.
Now, North Bay Village says its suspended McVay pending a full investigation.
"The Officer is being suspended from his duties, and an Internal Affairs investigation has already been initiated," the department said today in a written statement. "This investigation will be handled expeditiously, and any further action deemed appropriate will be taken once the Internal Affairs case is closed. Due to the pending status of the investigation, the Village will not be providing any further comment.”