Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

That simple Latin phrase, when translated into English, brings with it some very large philosophical implications, particularly as far as our own privacy is concerned. It means “who will watch the watchmen?”, which itself is a question of where absolute power should reside in a civilized society.Dash Cam

Every day, we put a tremendous amount of faith in people to watch over us and protect us – particularly with regards to local law enforcement officials. But who, exactly, is going to watch them? Who is going to make sure they’re wielding that power correctly and that they remain uncorrupted by it? As is true in so many other situations these days, the answer looks more and more likely to be “modern technology.”

The Utah Police Chief, the DUI and the Dash Cam

In January of 2019, police stopped a car traveling 86 MPH in a 65 MPH zone – something that in and of itself isn’t all that unusual. What made this particular stop unique, however, was the car itself: Not only was it another patrol car, but it was driving in the center median on US 89/91 with no emergency lights or sirens activated.

The police had been following this rogue cruiser for a few miles and at first, didn’t really think anything was out of the ordinary. After seeing the trooper not only travel entirely in the median at points but also cut off another truck on the road, officers knew that they had to take a closer look.

Not only did they find Shane Zilles – then-Chief of Mantua Police – behind the wheel, but he was also in his uniform. Likewise, he was carrying both his service revolver and his taser at the time of the stop. State troopers immediately knew something was up when Zilles couldn’t even manage to find the correct button to roll down the window. Eventually, he just got out of the car entirely – which was a problem, because it wasn’t in “Park.” After the car rolled about eight feet, Zilles managed to stop it and open the door. Fascinatingly, things only got worse from there.

The troopers immediately subjected Zilles to a field sobriety test, which he was in no way capable of pulling off. He soon consented to having his blood drawn and was taken to a nearby hospital for an evaluation. Note that while news reports don’t confirm this was the case, a blood test is usually what happens when someone refuses to take a breathalyzer during a stop.

All throughout this period, Zilles told the trooper that he was on his way to work. However, based on which direction he was traveling down the highway, that didn’t seem to be the case. Upon further questioning, Zilles didn’t seem to understand where he was at all – which only caused a series of additional red flags to go up in the mind of the responding trooper.

The next day, that same trooper called Zilles at his home to ask him for more information about what happened. Zilles almost seemed to have no recollection of the event, as he was confused about the time that it happened, the location he was traveling to, the direction he was headed in, and other fairly simple details. Zilles insisted that he had taken a controlled medication earlier that day that clearly interfered with his ability to operate a motor vehicle. His blood test said differently.

About a week later, Zilles was charged with not only reckless driving but was also issued a DUI. Almost immediately thereafter, he was fired from his role of Chief of Police and was promptly arrested. The Utah Highway Patrol has released all of their dash cam footage from the event, which interested parties are free to view right here.

So at that point, one must return to the original question: “who will watch the watchmen?” These days, as it turns out, it’s probably their own dash cam – at least if this Utah Police Chief’s DUI arrest is any indication.