MOORHEAD, Minn. (WCCO) – A 20-year veteran of the Moorhead Police Department was arrested on Thursday for suspicion of driving under the influence.

Sgt. Thad Stafford, who was not on duty during the time of the incident, has been charged with driving under the influence, and he will be placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.

A Moorhead officer arrived at the scene after police say a citizen called dispatch and observed an intoxicated male getting into a vehicle outside Mick’s Office bar on 8th Street South in Moorhead. After running the plate, the officer found it belonged to the personally-owned vehicle of Stafford.

“The Moorhead Police Department must maintain the trust of the public we serve by being accountable and transparent,” said Police Chief Shannon Monroe. “We are entrusted to enforce the law and be examples to others. Police officers are human and make mistakes, but we are not above the law. Our community is safer through actions of citizens that recognize and report suspected intoxicated drivers.  The officers that took part in this investigation acted appropriately and professionally.”

The officer located the vehicle around 7:30 p.m. in the 2000 block of 33 Street South, where Stafford was found driving. Officers observed initial signs of intoxication and called for a Clay County Sheriff’s Office deputy to continue the investigation to avoid conflicts of interest.

Stafford was then arrested for driving under the influence and held at the Clay County jail.