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Mitchell Police officer convicted on DUI charge, city council issues $2.74 pay cut

The court accepted the guilty plea, ordering Maas to pay over $800 in fines and fees for the conviction.

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The Mitchell Police Division is a part of the Mitchell Department of Public Safety.
Hunter Dunteman / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — A Mitchell Police officer has been convicted of driving under the influence, and will remain on the force at a lower wage, according to public documents.

Without having to make a physical appearance in a Davison County courtroom, Justin Maas, 24, of Cavour, pleaded guilty by power of attorney to one count of driving under the influence on March 24.

The court accepted the guilty plea, ordering Maas to pay over $800 in fines and fees for the conviction — $596.50 in misdemeanor fines, $163 in for a blood test and other miscellaneous costs and $50 for a DUI conviction.

Though the city of Mitchell did not respond to an inquiry on Maas’ employment status — and Chief of Police Mike Koster referred all questions to the city's human resources department — Mitchell City Council minutes from Feb. 22 showed Maas was then employed at a wage of $23.34 per hour — a reduction from the $26.08 per hour the council approved for Maas at their regular meeting on Jan. 3.

Following the filing of criminal charges on Jan. 10, the Mitchell Police Division announced in a press release Maas would be placed on administrative leave for the duration of an internal review. It is unknown if the period of administrative leave has concluded.

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The conviction stems from a 2 a.m. traffic stop on Jan. 8, where Maas was pulled over by the South Dakota Highway Patrol for driving 41 mph in a 35 mph zone on North Main Street in Mitchell.

The trooper identified Maas, a patrol officer with MPD since Nov. 30, 2020, and detected a strong odor of alcohol from inside the vehicle. He also described Maas' eyes as watery and glassy. Maas admitted to drinking a mixed drink at a Mitchell bar.

A preliminary breath test issued by the trooper registered a .168% result — more than double the state's .08% limit.

Though he was off-duty at the time of the arrest, the Mitchell Police Division issued a statement on Jan. 10 that said it strives to be transparent in an effort to maintain the trust of the citizens it serves. It added that the city of Mitchell demands that its officers “maintain a high level of professionalism at all times,” noting that MPD is committed to holding its officers accountable.

Though Maas was not sentenced to any jail time, the maximum punishment for driving under the influence includes up to one year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Mitchell Republic does not report on all DUIs cases. However, because this incident involved a public official, elected official or other notable community member, the Mitchell Republic felt this case was necessary to report.

Dunteman covers general and breaking news as well as crime in the Mitchell Republic's 17-county coverage area. He grew up in Harrisburg, and has lived in South Dakota for over 20 years. He joined the Mitchell Republic in June 2021 after earning his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He can be reached at HDunteman@MitchellRepublic.com, or on Twitter @HRDunt.
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