Exclusive | Body cam footage reveals what led up to Camden officer’s DUI arrest


CAMDEN, Ark. — A Camden police officer faces charges following a DUI arrest that resulted from a one-car crash earlier this month.

A state trooper arrested Ben Opelt in the early morning hours of Dec. 1.

Body camera footage captured by responding officers revealed a damaged pole and a damaged fence along Adams Street.

Damage was also clearly visible on Opelt’s car.

A traffic report indicates the time of the call was 4:25 a.m.

At least two witnesses called authorities to report a wreckless driver, which happened to be Opelt, earlier in the evening, according to a police report.

Opelt told officers at the scene that a deer ran in front of him, causing him to crash.

When a state trooper arrived to conduct a DUI breath test, Opelt refused, which led to a refusal to submit charge.

In the body camera footage, one of Opelt’s colleagues can be heard expressing her disappointment in the sight of Opelt being led away in handcuffs:

“I just hate to see somebody ruin their career like that,” she can be heard saying in the footage.

Three years ago, Opelt was demoted from Sergeant to Officer and suspended for at least two days after failing to complete reports by failing to turn them into the prosecutor’s office, according to disciplinary documents we obtained. In one of the reports Opelt failed to complete, it led to a rape suspect being released from jail after being held for more than 60 days without the case file being turned into the prosecutor.

We spoke to Opelt by phone on Wednesday, and he declined to comment.

Last week, when asked about Opelt’s status with the Camden Police Department, a spokesperson told us ‘He’s on sick leave.”

We’ve reached out to the police department regarding Opelt’s current status, but as of Wednesday afternoon, we have not heard back.

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