THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4) – Police in Thornton arrested Senior Deputy Walter Berlinski of the Adams County Sheriff’s office early Wednesday morning for suspected DUI, careless driving and prohibited use of a weapon after they say they spotted the deputy driving erratically. CBS4 learned officers with Thornton Police Department arrested Berlinski, 39, on a DUI charge at about 2 a.m. near the intersection of Fairfax Street and 120th Avenue.

Walter Berlinski (credit: Adams County)

Officer Matt Barnes, a spokesman for Thornton police, said Berlinski was driving a pickup truck. He said officers took Berlinski into custody after noting a strong odor of alcohol and after the deputy performed roadside tests.

Barnes said since it appeared Berlinski was impaired by alcohol, and there was a gun in the truck, Berlinski was also charged with prohibited use of a weapon.

He said the deputy refused to take a blood or breath test. After being charged, Barnes said Thornton officers gave Berlinski a “courtesy transport” home, which is a matter of discretion and is not unsual for people who are cooperative, according to Barnes.

Sgt. Paul Gregory, a spokesman for the Adams County Sheriffs Office said, “We can confirm that he was arrested by Thornton Police. We can also confirm that he has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure.”

Berlinski has been with the sheriffs office for 16 years.

CBS4 was not able to reach Berlinski for comment.

In 2018, Berlinski was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing after he shot and killed a 27-year-old man in January at an apartment complex. According to a clearance letter from the Adams County District Attorney, Berlinski shot Bailey Turner 10 times after Turner charged him and was unaffected by a Taser. Bailey had been acting erratically and had attacked a resident of the apartment complex. The coroner later said Turner had both LSD and methamphetamines in his system. Berlinski said he feared for his life when he was being attacked by Turner.

Brian Maass

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