Code of Silence: 'Don't Rat Out Other Cops'

"You know what, quite frankly, I really don't care if he is a cop," Brown said. "He was going to kill somebody or kill himself."

Officer Brown discussed the situation and the implications of arresting a fellow officer with his supervisor, who told him that "the moral thing to do is to treat him the same as any other DUI," but left the decision up to Brown.

"You have put me in a horrible situation tonight, one that I pray you never find yourself in," Brown told Crank. "I am faced with a moral dilemma."

"I've been in that position," Crank said.

"What would you do, honestly?" Brown asked.

"I would make sure that the officer had a way home," Crank replied.

"OK, so you feel like we should allow you to break the law and get away with it?" Brown said. "Why? Because you're another officer?"

But in the end, Brown confided to his fellow officer that he couldn't bring himself to make the arrest. After almost 50 minutes of agonizing, Brown upheld the code of silence and allowed Crank's supervisor to drive him home, even though he knew he was breaking state law.

Crank did eventually get a slap on the wrist — a few days suspension without pay. But after the videotape was leaked to the local media, a prosecutor picked up the case, and Crank was ultimately convicted of DUI.

In Chicago, drunken driving off-duty police officers may have killed as many as seven innocent civilians over the last three years, but Rory Gilbert, a counselor who has treated hundreds of cops for alcoholism, said it's incredibly difficult for police officers to take a stand.

"Alcohol is just part of the police culture," he said. "So for that one officer to be the one who is all of a sudden gonna be the hero and buck the system, I can't be critical of that person."

It's clear that cops are now being watched when on- and off-duty, but it seems that the Chicago police superintendent's message that the rules have changed has not reached the entire force.

Still, superintendent Weis said, "The days of giving people a pass, the days of taking care of folks like that for DUI, it's over."

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