Dearborn fire chief back on job following arrest for alleged drunken driving

Posted at 3:43 PM, Oct 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-01 14:55:53-04

(WXYZ) — After two months of leave, Dearborn’s fire chief is now back to work following an arrest for alleged drunken driving. Today we’re learning more about why he’s been allowed to return to his job. Dearborn’s fire chief still is not doing any interviews. However, the community is also responding to his second chance.

“Do you have anything to say?” We asked after he was released two months ago from custody in Dearborn Heights. His reply was a short “No thanks.”

Reporter Simon Shaykhet asks Dearborn fire chief about arrest

On the streets of Dearborn, Kenneth Donegan told us: “In my opinion no, he shouldn’t be back. DUI is very serious. Someone could get hurt in that situation.”

The alleged case of drunken driving, and stumbling through a field sobriety test, first landed the chief on leave. Today, an interview request was denied, but we did get a statement that spoke to the move for a second chance. Part of it read: “After careful consideration, my administration has decided to reinstate Joseph Murray as Chief… the choice to retain Chief Murray derives from balancing a two decades long career in public service and the humility to not evaluate an individual in their darkest moments.”

Citizen Khairddin Al-Daratkech told us in response: “We can’t judge him and kick him out after what he did for the city. He did a lot of service and fought a lot for houses and people.”

On Nov. 1, Murray was charged with operating while intoxicated. He is expected to be arraigned on Dec. 1.

Additionally, the mayor has told fire employees the chief has taken accountability and agreed to preventive measures. The fire chief has remained out of the public eye since his arrest after allegedly doing 15 mph over the limit and weaving in traffic in late August at 2:44 a.m. So far, blood test results haven’t been released.

We’re told the fire chief will have to spend the next year further rebuilding trust through a series of required activities such as community service. His employment is also conditional upon no further offenses.