SANTA CLARA COUNTY (KRON) — A Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputy has been arrested for allegedly driving under the influence and brandishing a firearm, according to authorities.
Authorities said 33-year-old Benjamin Lee was arrested outside a Santa Clara fast food restaurant and is now on leave, authorities said Tuesday.
The arrest happened at about 2:40 a.m. on Sunday at a Jack in the Box restaurant at 911 El Camino Real near Lafayette Street, Santa Clara police Lt. Kurt Clarke said.
Lee, who was off-duty during the incident, was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail and later released, sheriff’s Sgt. James Jensen said.
The 33-year-old has been placed on administrative leave and the sheriff’s office is carrying out an internal investigation into the allegations, Jensen said.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office is awaiting a report on Lee that it will review to determine if charges will be filed against him.
The Deputy Sheriffs’ Association of Santa Clara County issued a statement following Lee’s arrest, saying the group was saddened by the allegations.
While cautioning against a rush to judgment, association vice president Roger Winslow said, “DUI by anyone is unacceptable; doubly so when it involves a deputy sheriff. We are held to a higher standard and rightly so.”
The Deputy Sheriff’s Association of Santa Clara County issued the following statement on the arrest:
The Deputy Sheriffs’ Association of Santa Clara County is saddened by the weekend arrest of one of its members on charges of driving while under the influence of alcohol and brandishing a weapon, said Roger Winslow, the group’s vice president.
“Our deputies make arrests for these crime regularly. They see firsthand the consequences caused by impaired drivers,” he remarked.
Winslow cautioned against a rush to judgment about the arrest, but acknowledged that a “DUI by anyone is unacceptable; doubly so when it involves a deputy sheriff. We are held to a higher standard and rightly so.”
The DSA will follow this incident as it moves through the judicial system. “We fully expect that appropriate action will be taken after all the facts are determined,” he said.
The organization represents over 530 sworn deputies, sheriff’s sergeants and sheriff’s lieutenants with a current vacancy rate of 19% or 100 positions. They work in the courts, investigate crimes throughout the County, patrol the streets of Cupertino, Los Altos Hills, Saratoga and unincorporated areas of the county, and provide police services for the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA).
Bay City News contributed to this report