Dear Governor Wolf,
My name is Joseph F. Rafferty III and I am writing to you in reference to my case in the court of Common Pleas that has since been concluded. I have successfully completed all that was required of me.
My case is quite unique in many different ways. I was charged with a DUI and M1 regarding a disabled vehicle on the side of the roadway. I admitted to the criminal act and pled guilty.
I stood in front of Judge Finlay of Bucks County, who was the presiding judge. I served 40 days and had 6 months’ probation for a first time offender of a DUI. I was under the influence of alcohol and falsely advised officers I was taking prescription medication.
I admitted doing so; however I wasn’t on any medication, only ones prescribed for my blood pressure. I checked myself into Transformations Treatment Center in Delray Beach, Florida, an inpatient facility. There, I had blood drawn at the hospital and found I obtained a .375 blood alcohol count and no other medication or substance was found in my system.
There are so many elements to this case.
I would like to inform Honorable Governor Wolf and Honorable Judge Finley of the particulars to my case. I hope everyone will help both inform and assist you with ascertaining the growing epidemic in the commonwealth.
I was a decorated Sergeant in the Office of Sheriff in Bucks County, Pa. I was a Sergeant, Internal Affairs, Swat Negotiator, Major Incident Response Team (Operation Supervisor), assigned to Philadelphia Counterterrorism and in charge of the warrant division.
I never in my 27 years received any complaints or disciplinary action. I am a single father of 4 children along with (at the time) a stay at home ex-wife.
I handled coaching, homework, school events and was a hands-on Daddy. I wouldn’t ask for help with anything. I knew the task at hand; aspire to be an accomplished employee and father. The proverbial fuse was lit way before the incident.
I accepted full responsibility for my actions. However, it was later determined after I completed my treatment, I had been walking around undiagnosed with several illnesses that would explain my actions on August 13, 2016.
I left treatment and was advised to follow up with Lenape Valley Foundation for mental health and Transformations Treatment Center later diagnosed me with PTSD and Bipolar II. I have been active in treatment since August 14, 2016 (day after incident).
I slowly but surely have been rising up, portrayed as a poster child for law enforcement mental health illnesses. I have appeared on The Laura Ingraham Show, Law Enforcement Radio with Jay Wiley and have written for Law Enforcement Today.
I have been actively engaged in support of my substance abuse. I can be seen speaking with at risk students, roll call videos and speaking engagements about the mental health illnesses associated and which are left undiagnosed.
My new role is to speak to command staff, to help look for signs of potential victims. It has become my new calling.
I use my name and titles I’ve held and refuse to live ashamed. I don’t want my legacy and impeccable record to be hinged or be seen as a “Drunk”, “Loser“ or “Oh he’s a mess”.
I want to be defined not only in my 27 years of accolades but using my story of a fall from grace in one horrific tragedy. I am still respected in the law enforcement community.
I handle calls most days in dual diagnosis facilities and even incorporated and facilitated for New Hope Dogs, Inc, which is a nonprofit facility and helped intertwine them with military and first responders for Transformations Treatment Center.