Dashcam shows former assistant fire marshal stopped for porn

DASHCAM VIDEO: Former asst. Smith Co. fire marshal pulled over for swerving, watching porn
Dash cam video. (Source: SCSO)
Dash cam video. (Source: SCSO)

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Newly released dash cam video shows exactly what happened during a traffic stop that led to an assistant fire marshal being placed on paid leave, and then resigning.

Oren Hale of Smith County was pulled over on August 20 in his county fire marshal unit, allegedly with a mixed drink and pornography displayed on the on-board computer screen, according to the Smith County Sheriff's Office.

Hale was observed swerving before he was stopped and he was ticketed for failing to maintain a single lane.

Dash camera video from the Smith County Sheriff's Office shows deputies reacting to seeing the images on Hale's screen. While driving behind Hale's vehicle, the deputy comments to another, "Oh my God, do you see it? He's not even trying to hide it."

When the deputies approach Hale, they tell him they noticed the explicit images on his screen.

"Probably not the best idea, man," said the deputy. "If we see it, other people can see it. You've got Smith County written on the side of your vehicle."

Also captured by dash cam video, a deputy asks Hale what the cup in his vehicle contains.

Hale responds that it is Coke, but when the deputy asks to see the cup, Hale admits the cup has a little bourbon in it.

Deputies ask Hale to step to the rear of his vehicle while the Department of Public Safety is contacted. The deputy tells dispatch they've pulled over a fire marshal and "he's intoxicated."

A DPS trooper arrives and administers a field sobriety test for Hale, including a gaze test and a 'walk and turn' test.  According to an internal investigation conducted by the Smith County Sheriff's Office, the DPS trooper also gave Hale a Portable Breathalyzer Test (PBT) which showed "the presence of alcohol in [Hale's] system."  Based on the physical and PBT test, the trooper found the Hale was not intoxicated, according to the investigative report.

A Smith County sergeant drove Hale home following the stop and traffic citation, according to the report.

WATCH: Asst. Fire Marshal given sobriety tests on dashcam video

Sheriff Larry Smith said his deputies handled the stop professionally, especially in light of the offender being a county official. Smith said DPS was called to handle the stop to ensure there were no conflicts. Hale passed the field sobriety test, Smith said, so there were no grounds to arrest him. Smith also said Hale was driven home because he could not continue driving his county vehicle due to possible policy violations, but not because he was inebriated.

The internal investigation completed on August 30 found Hale to be in violation of the Smith County Employee Handbook for operating a county vehicle under the effect of alcohol, possessing an open container, and viewing pornographic material on a county issued laptop computer.

KLTV attempted to contact Hale for a comment, but could not reach the former assistant fire marshal on his listed home number.

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