SLO police officer arrested on DUI charge, put on paid leave

The San Luis Obispo police station at Santa Rosa and Walnut streets.
The San Luis Obispo police station at Santa Rosa and Walnut streets.

A San Luis Obispo police officer who was hired in April has been placed on paid administrative leave after his arrest on suspicion of DUI early Wednesday.

At about 2:22 a.m., a California Highway Patrol officer stopped driver Travis Morris near the corner of Marsh and Garden streets in downtown San Luis Obispo, said CHP Officer J.W. Townsend.

Morris appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, Townsend said. Morris declined to take a breathalyzer test and opted to have his blood drawn at a nearby hospital to determine his blood-alcohol content, as required by law.

Morris was issued a misdemeanor citation and was allowed to contact a sober, licensed adult to pick him up from the hospital.

Townsend said Morris was released without a trip to San Luis Obispo County Jail but was formally arrested and booked either at the hospital or the San Luis Obispo CHP office.

He said officers have discretion to release people cited for DUI if they meet criteria such as having a clean criminal record, a valid driver’s license, a sensitive professional position or medical condition, if the offense is a misdemeanor and if the person has a licensed adult to take them home.

“Because a sergeant arrived and found that the parameters were met, he can deem that a cite and release is (appropriate),” Townsend said. “It was not because (Morris) is a police officer.”

San Luis Obispo police Capt. Keith Storton said via email late Thursday that Morris has been placed on paid administrative leave.

“An administrative investigation will be conducted regarding this matter,” he wrote. “The details of the administrative investigation are required to be kept confidential and are not subject to public release.”

As of Friday afternoon, court records indicated that no charges had been filed. Morris has no criminal history, according to court records.