Utah 911 dispatch director fired after being found driving a city car with an open container and 0.214 percent blood alcohol content

Scott Freitag, a Layton City Councilman, had a blood alcohol content of 2½ times the legal limit, police say.

(Courtesy Layton City) Scott Freitag, Layton City Council member and director of Salt Lake City's emergency dispatch center.

Salt Lake City 911 dispatch Director Scott Freitag — who is also a Layton City Council member — was arrested Wednesday afternoon while allegedly driving drunk in a government vehicle.

He was subsequently fired, Salt Lake City announced Thursday.

Matthew Rojas, spokesman for the mayor’s office, said a review of Freitag’s schedule indicates that he was on the clock at the time of the arrest — 1:25 p.m. Wednesday — though he added that Freitag’s schedule is somewhat fluid, due to occasional long days.

“There is no acceptable reason for anyone to put innocent lives in danger by getting behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated, especially an individual leading a critical public safety agency,” Mayor Jackie Biskupski said in a news release announcing the firing. “While I am angry and disappointed in Scott’s behavior, I do hope he gets help to address his problems, and that he finds the support of loved ones that he needs at this time.”

A Centerville Police Department sergeant saw the Salt Lake City Corporation vehicle entering the southbound Interstate 15 Kaysville on-ramp and noticed that the vehicle was driven erratically, according to a Centerville news release.

Freitag was pulled over and failed field sobriety tests. He registered a 0.214 percent blood alcohol content during a breathalyzer test, the release said, and the officer found an open mixed drink in the center console of the vehicle.

Utah’s legal blood-alcohol-content limit for driving is 0.08 percent. It is scheduled to change to 0.05 percent on Dec. 30.

Freitag was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, having an open container of alcohol in a moving vehicle, and possession of a firearm by an intoxicated person. He was cited and released. Court records show that he has not been officially charged, and that he has no scheduled court date.

Layton Mayor Bob Stevenson said Thursday that he is still working to figure everything out, and to talk to the rest of the council about the situation. A news release from the city said Layton declined to comment on the matter.

“The City has very limited information and is not in a position to either comment on the situation or present any position,” the release states.

Freitag has been a member of the Layton City Council since 2007. He has been elected to the seat three times, and his current term ends in 2019. Freitag is the council’s liaison to the police and fire departments and to the Legislature.

Freitag was initially appointed director of SLC911 in May 2013, by Mayor Ralph Becker. He was reappointed in July 2016, Rojas said. Prior to that, he worked for the Salt Lake City Fire Department for 16 years, serving as communications director, among other posts.

In 2003, he received the Fire Department's Medal of Gallantry for apprehending an arson suspect at the scene of a fire.

SLC911 Deputy Director Lisa Burnette will serve as acting director until a replacement can be found, Rojas said. SLC911 handles an average of 1,635 calls per day, serving Salt Lake City and Sandy.