Deputy Justin Revnell [Sheriff Scott Fewin's nephew] - Charged with domestic violence
Justin Revnell honored by MADD selection?
Traverse City Record-Eagle
Call it clueless, bizarre, unintentionally ironic or hypocritical, but MADD's recent selection of a Grand Traverse County sheriff's deputy as recipient of a local SALUTE Michigan Law Enforcement award is a real jaw-dropper.
Apparently, Justin Revnell earned MADD's praise for logging 41 drunken driving arrests over the past year. The group must be fixated on numbers, because its choice of Revnell otherwise ignored context, history and common sense.
Revnell allegedly was intoxicated on at least two occasions in 2004 when he roughed up a live-in girlfriend, including once when he allegedly wheeled home from a local watering hole and got into it with the woman, prompting her to call for help.
A state police-administered blood-alcohol test indicated Revnell remained drunk hours after he drove home from the bar.
Local prosecutors charged Revnell with domestic violence, but their case collapsed by spring 2005 when their chief witness — Revnell's alleged victim — disappeared after a few conversations with Revnell and his uncle/employer, Sheriff Scott Fewins.
The deputy remains on the county payroll, thanks to the vanishing act, but he sure doesn't rate a commendation for alcohol enforcement.
MADD's praise of Revnell and three other local officers was announced on the eve of a local crackdown on drunken driving. Sheriff's deputies and state police from the Traverse City post are among agencies to receive bonus tax dollars to pay for extra patrols to sniff out imbibing drivers.
Motorists caught in the dragnet face jail time, stiff fines and loss of driving privileges.That is, unless the offenders work for the sheriff's department or state police. The same tough standards don't seem to apply to them.
In addition to Revnell, sheriff's deputy Gregory McManemy and then-Traverse City state police trooper David Meder ran afoul of the law after allegedly drinking too much.
McManemy this summer escaped a drunken driving charge after a long delay in taking a Breathalyzer test, while Meder last year crashed his vehicle and slipped away into the night after a boozy evening. Meder, it seems, learned a lesson from his previous 1990s drunken driving crash, arrest and conviction. This time he escaped big trouble by fleeing the scene, refusing to let responding cops in his house, and repeatedly lying. Either way, he kept his job.
These days, Revnell, McManemy and Meder are back on patrol, keeping a sharp eye out for drunks who don't wear badges.
Thankfully, MADD is out there to support law enforcement's push against drunken driving, even those who don't walk the walk, or even a straight line.
Alleged Drunk Cop Rewarded by MADD for 41 DUI Arrests
Cop with 41 DUI arrests has alleged alcohol charges himself
San Diego DUI Law Center
Sunday, August 26, 2007
MADD recently commended Justin Revnell, a sheriff's deputy, as part of its "SALUTE Michigan Law Enforcement program that encourages agencies to prioritize drunk driving arrests.
"Revnell, nephew of Grand Traverse County Sheriff Scott Fewins, was charged with domestic violence after an alleged drunken altercation with a life-in girlfriend in late 2004.
The alleged victim said Revnell was allegedly intoxicated when he drove home from a Garfield Township tavern Dec. 30, 2004, and allegedly assaulted her during an argument. Prosecutors also alleged another alcohol-related incident against Revnell stemming from an earlier encounter with the woman.
Michigan's MADD spokesman, Homer Smith, claimed he wasn't aware of Revnell's troubles.
MADD relies on local police to recommend officers for recognition and doesn't do background checks on those officers.
Officers with more than 25 drunk driving arrests over the past year received MADD awards. Revnell had 41 DUI arrests. Which criminal defense lawyer will he call?
MADD honors deputy despite past charges
Traverse City Record-Eagle
By VICTOR SKINNER
TRAVERSE CITY — Justin Revnell, Mothers Against Drunk Driving salutes you.
MADD's state chapter recently commended Revnell, a Grand Traverse County sheriff's deputy, as part of its SALUTE Michigan Law Enforcement program "that encourages agencies to prioritize drunk driving arrests.”
Revnell, nephew of Grand Traverse County Sheriff Scott Fewins, was charged with domestic violence after an alleged drunken altercation with a live-in girlfriend in late 2004.
The alleged victim said Revnell was intoxicated when he drove home from a Garfield Township tavern on Dec. 30, 2004, and assaulted her during an argument. State police who responded hours after Revnell arrived home conducted a test that registered his blood-alcohol level at .08, the level considered drunk in Michigan.
Prosecutors also alleged another alcohol-related incident against Revnell stemming from an earlier encounter with the woman. Charges against Revnell were dropped after prosecutors lost their key witness when the woman disappeared from the area.
Michigan's MADD spokesman, Homer Smith, said he wasn't aware of Revnell's troubles. MADD relies on local police to recommend officers for recognition and doesn't do background checks on those officers, Smith said.
"The only information we collect is the name of the individuals and the number of drunk driving arrests they have made,” Smith said. "We would be concerned if an individual had been convicted of an alcohol offense ... but that is not information we are privy to.”
Fewins said officers with more than 25 drunk driving arrests over the past year received MADD awards. Revnell had 41, Fewins said.
Revnell earned an "insignia bar” from MADD for his efforts.
The MADD presentation to Revnell and three other local officers came on the eve of a federally funded, local law enforcement crackdown on drunken driving. Area agencies participating in the project include the Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Department and Michigan State Police Traverse City post.
Officers from both agencies had alcohol-related problems over the past year, though none was charged with drunken driving.
Grand Traverse sheriff's officials continue to investigate deputy Gregory Scott McManemy, who was stopped in June for alleged drunken driving at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Leelanau County.
McManemy, 43, had been drinking and driving erratically when park rangers stopped his vehicle on M-22, but he was deemed under the legal limit after a second blood-alcohol test at the Grand Traverse County Jail nearly two hours later.
He was not charged with an alcohol-related offense and is back on road patrol while sheriff's officials wait for arrest reports from the Park Service.
Revnell and McManemy could participate — but are not expected to — in the statewide drunk driving crackdown, Fewins said.
State police trooper David Meder was transferred from Traverse City to South Haven, a tourist community on Michigan's southwest lakeshore, and suspended from duty for 10 days after he crashed his off-duty vehicle into a telephone pole on Peninsula Drive in May 2006.
Witnesses said Meder, who had a previous drunken driving conviction after an incident in the mid-1990s, had been drinking heavily at Brady's Bar in Traverse City before the crash.
Meder fled the crash scene on foot, reported his vehicle stolen to his insurance company, then retracting that statement days later.
Meder was sentenced to six months probation and ordered to pay more than $6,000 in restitution for two misdemeanors for failing to report the crash.He was not charged with an alcohol-related offense.
DUI enforcement gets a boost
Agencies get funding for crackdown
Traverse City Record-Eagle
By VICTOR SKINNER
TRAVERSE CITY — Area police are beefing up drunken driving patrols through Labor Day weekend amid a statewide rise in alcohol- and drug-related traffic fatalities.
The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning is distributing approximately $650,000 in federal funds to 230 police agencies in 55 counties to support a crackdown on drunken driving that runs from Aug. 17 through Sept. 3.
In 2006, the number of alcohol- and drug-related traffic deaths increased 8 percent to represent just over 40 percent of all fatal crashes, the highest percentage in over a decade, according to the OHSP.
Last year 440 people died and 7,678 were injured in wrecks involving drugs or alcohol.
The Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Department and Traverse City Police kicked off the program with a press conference at the law enforcement center on Aug. 16. There, officials from Mothers Against Drunk Driving honored local officers for their efforts in preventing drunk driving.
City police officers Joseph Soffredine and Mark Lion and sheriff's deputies Bradley Kirkpatrick and Justin Revnell were commended with insignia bars based on their annual number of drunken driving arrests.
Sheriff Scott Fewins and city police Capt. Steve Morgan said they believe overtime patrols will take more drunk drivers off the road.
"Normally, we do arrest people on the grants because people assigned to that can concentrate on traffic and looking for apparent drunk drivers,” Morgan said.
"You are going to see increased numbers because the officers don't get called away,” Fewins said.
Traverse City's state police post commander Lt. William Elliott said extra troopers will patrol area highways over the Labor Day weekend but he also plans to use the grant money in other ways.
"We are using some of the money to do warrant sweeps for people who have outstanding warrants for alcohol-related offenses,” he said.
In Wexford County, 20 percent of fatal and serious injury accidents involved alcohol, and sheriff's officials said they believe the crackdown will help reduce that figure in more ways than one.
"It isn't just the arrests, it's the fact we are doing the media campaign and people see the officers out there,” said Sheriff Gary Finstrom. "It is those benefits of the program that are basically unmeasurable.”
Log on to www.michigan.gov/ohsp for more information on enforcement times, dates and locations.