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Rookie officer calls it quits after alleged drunken episode

CARLSBAD — An off-duty San Diego patrol officer, accused of being drunk in public after she drew a handgun at a Carlsbad bar, has resigned from the department, a San Diego police spokesperson said.
Christine Thurston, 23, resigned Aug. 20 after being on administrative leave following the Aug. 14 incident at Hennessey’s Tavern in downtown Carlsbad, Monica Munoz, a spokesperson with the San Diego Police Department, said.
Thurston had been a patrol officer with the San Diego Police Department less than a year, Munoz said.
Carlsbad police arrested Thurston on suspicion of public drunkenness, a misdemeanor, after the manager at Hennessey’s called 911 around 10 p.m. to report that a patron had pulled out a firearm, authorities said.
“I just had a young lady pull a gun out of her purse,” the manager told the 911 operator. “She was looking in her purse to grab a wallet, and she just pulled it out of her purse and held it up in the air.”
Someone at the bar disarmed Thurston and then bouncers took her outside to wait for authorities to arrive, Carlsbad police said.
In the 911 call, the manager said Thurston was “extremely intoxicated,” but cooperative with the bouncers.
“It scared the crap out of me!” the manager told the 911 operator.
Because Thurston did not actually threaten anyone with the handgun, she was not arrested for brandishing a firearm, Carlsbad police said.
Munoz said SDPD officers are permitted to carry their weapons if they are out drinking. However, it is the policy of the San Diego Police Department that off-duty officers, regardless if they are carrying a gun or not, “cannot drink to the point that they are impaired and can’t make good decisions,” Munoz said.
An Oct. 7 court hearing is scheduled for Thurston’s case.


John B August 24, 2009 at 6:17 pm

I find it shocking that police officers are allowed to carry their guns when they are out drinking. One drink is too much when you have a loaded weapon. They need to change this policy.


Brian S. August 24, 2009 at 8:12 pm

I agree completly; this isn’t the first off-duty incident. This policy is unacceptable and I feel the department should explain it’s reasoning. Until then, off-duty SD police officers are threats to all this city’s citizens.

John S August 30, 2009 at 12:49 am

I normally am quick to point out problems with the local PD, specifically bad motocops, but this is just a person making a simple bad judgment call. If she’d just packed her purse differently, turned to the side to shield her purses contents, and a few other possibilities, this would never have happened. I think most people understand cops carry while off duty. Sometimes people drink. Cops will just as we do. However, they’re screened and so an officer is much less likely to brandish, threaten, etc. Which, from this article, she didn’t do. So, did she make a mistake? Sure. Did she get drunk? Sure. But I don’t think she should be fired for the simple fact she A) Had a gun B) Got drunk. People have been doing this for hundreds of years, and the incidents are few and far between. Don’t condemn the majority because of a minority. E.g. No Left Turns at lights without arrows.

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