An Alamogordo firefighter most recently arrested for DWI is no stranger to the law, yet he continues to be employed by his department.
It was just after 2 a.m. on August 29 when a Las Cruces Police officer pulled over a white Chevy Camaro.
In police lapel video, the officer approached the driver saying, “Can you put your phone down?”
The driver appeared distracted.
The officer then said again, “I’m still waiting on the documentation that I asked you for.”
James Padilla, 33, replied, “What did you ask for?”
The officer again asked him for his license, insurance and registration.
In the video, the officer is heard telling another officer that driver made an illegal U-turn, but the stop turned into a DWI.
“Alright, Mr. Padilla how much have you had to drink tonight?” asked the officer, to which Padilla replied he had drunk earlier in the day.
Padilla told the officer he was in Las Cruces to pick up a friend.
“Well, he works for Cruces Fire and I know he’s been drinking cause it’s our first day off,” said Padilla.
The officer then asked if Padilla was also a firefighter and he replied, “yes,” saying he worked for Alamogordo Fire.
The officer tells Padilla to get out of his car, then stumbles through most of the sobriety tests.
Padilla was arrested and then the officers searched the car.
“Wow, that’s strong dude, what is that? That’s some strong liquor right there,” said one officer to another.
The officers also found two empty Wicked Red containers.
Padilla was charged with aggravated DWI because he would not take a breath test.
While on the way to jail, Padilla expressed concern that he didn’t want to put his job in jeopardy.
But according to court records, Padilla’s past run-ins with the law have not hindered his position as a first responder for the people of Alamogordo.
Since 2010 Padilla has been charged with domestic violence twice, including aggravated battery with great bodily harm, along with several traffic tickets.
KRQE News 13 made several attempts to speak with someone from the fire department but has not heard back.