EPPD police sergeant back on the force with pay raise after DWI arrest

Local

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — An El Paso Police Department sergeant is back on patrol and recently received a pay raise after being arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence.

Sgt. Jessica Grijalva, 38, remains on the city’s payroll following her arrest in May 2019 when other officers pulled her vehicle over after observing her travel 61 mph in a 40 mph zone in East El Paso.

The El Paso Police Department had told media Grijalva was “relieved of duty” after the arrest. And, the department confirmed late Thursday night via email what KTSM 9 News learned in Internal Affairs documents.

“She was relieved of duty at the time of her arrest.  An Internal Affairs investigation was conducted administratively as a personnel matter.  The arrest was announced on a press release.  After an initial press release, in no case are updates provided in regards to any subsequent proceedings or case disposition,” a police spokeswoman said.

“As a result of said administrative investigation, the department determined that discipline was justified, and a 120-hour suspension was recommended for the conduct of Sgt. Jessica Grijalva, which she had engaged in during the time in question,” an internal affairs document reads.

Police internal affairs documents show Grijalva, who was not on duty during the time of the arrest, served an 84-hour suspension, which chief Greg Allen approved on May 13, 2019, a few days later.

An officer who pulled her over sensed a strong odor of alcohol coming from her vehicle and noticed she was “off-balance and had to lean against the car to balance herself,” according to an affidavit. She refused a field sobriety test three times and her blood alcohol was measured at .182 and .190, the legal limit being .08 in Texas.

The arrest was captured on video by Horizon City News Service, a local independent newsgathering website.

Grijalva pleaded not guilty to the DWI charge last January, and it was dismissed after she agreed to a pre-trial diversion program offered by former District Attorney Jaime Esparza’s Office.

Under the agreement, Grijalva agreed not to commit crimes, not use illegal drugs, pay $460, comply with a PR bond and attend corrective classes. She has since completed the program, according to county records.

City records show Grijalva was given a pay raise along with other department officers between 2019 and 2020. Her pay was increased $6,000 to an annual salary of $85,749.

KTSM reached out to El Paso Police for comment, and had not heard back as of our 4 p.m. deadline.

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