LAPD Officer Kenneth Aragon, who died in a motorcycle crash last week, was drinking before the accident at a police academy bar, it was reported this week.
Police said Aragon's blood-alcohol level was "well over" the legal limit, the Los Angeles Times reported:
Aragon, a 19-year veteran of the department and father of five, spent several hours drinking and singing karaoke with other officers and guests in a banquet room outfitted with a bar on the upper floor of the academy's main building, (LAPD Cmdr. David Doan) said. They had gathered for "payday Wednesday," an unofficial but regular event held every other week at the idyllic Elysian Park campus to celebrate their latest paycheck.
Around 2 a.m. on Dec. 3, the 47-year-old officer crashed his motorcycle while driving north on Fletcher Drive. The crash happened 90 minutes after Aragon left the academy bar. Investigators are unsure if he visited another bar before the accident.
According to the LAPD's website, the academy "provides a unique blend of training, recreation, and social functions to serve the officers of the Los Angeles Police Department." The bar is run by the Los Angeles Revolver and Athletic Club -- a tax-exempt organization separate from the LAPD, the Times reported.
The academy has quite a rowdy history, the Times reported:
Payday Wednesdays hold a particularly infamous spot in LAPD lore. Older officers tell sordid stories of wild, booze-fueled gatherings in the 1970s and '80s, at which officers and female guests had sex in the academy's garden. One well-known legend holds that a guardrail in front of a home set on a sharp turn in the road leading out of the academy was installed after several drunk officers failed to navigate the bend. Several officers say academy gatherings are much more staid today.