I-Team: Floyd Co. Sergeant dodges DUI for demotion - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

I-Team: Floyd Co. Sergeant dodges DUI for demotion

Posted: Updated:
FLOYD COUNTY, Ga. -

A county police officer is questioned for drinking and driving. But, rather than get a DUI, he walks away with a demotion. FOX 5 I-Team's Dana Fowle took a closer look at the details of this story, which aren't as black and white as they might seem.

What is clear is that Sgt. Josh Harkins, of the Floyd County Police Department, admitted to drinking and driving his truck. But, the case gets blurry because it was a training session that didn't go as planned.

Dash-cam video shows Sgt. Harkins behind the wheel of his truck. He's just been stopped in Floyd County for suspicion of driving while intoxicated.   

The video shows the young Floyd County officer struggling with a sobriety field test.  

Police say his blood alcohol level was 0.12 -- far above the 0.08 legal limit.

Police Chief Bill Shiflett said, "He told us in the interview, when he took responsibility for what he did, that he had four beers since 7:30 p.m."

But, Sgt. Harkins did not get a DUI.  Here's where the story of that May night gets strange. Chief Shiflett says the midnight drunk-driving stop was a department-sanctioned training event.

"Sgt. Harkins contacted his captain and told him about the scenario and asked his permission to do it, and of course, he said, ‘Yes,'" Shiflett said.

The only thing is Sgt. Harkins didn't say he would be drinking to the captain. The sergeant was training a rookie cop on how to conduct a DUI stop. The chief says the sergeant drank beer at home, called 9-1-1 and then got into his truck.

The chief said, "The fact that he actually was behind the wheel and drove for 50 feet on the roadway and another 100 feet to come back, turn around and get in his driveway."

When the other officers realized Sgt. Harkins really was drunk, they offered to drive his truck to his driveway. Sgt. Harkins, their supervisor, said "No."

The police chief said, "Placed the training officer and trainee in pretty bad situation, in a peculiar situation. His intentions were good. His heart was good. But, his choice was terrible. His judgment was terrible."

On a taped interview, Sgt. Harkins explains to his superiors how a mock situation got very real.

"I'm not going to make an excuse for it because I did it," Sgt. Harkins said. "Looking back now, shouldn't have done it. Bad idea, bad choices."

Over the years, Harkins has made a lot of bad choices.  His chief says, he's been reprimanded 13 times - for everything from excessive use of force to ignoring subpoenas to causing an accident. But, he's also received eight commendations.  

The police chief said, "He has the intention, the good intention to do good, but poor choices, bad consequences."

This time he got demoted and put on a tough, one-year probation plan. But, no DUI.  

As of why he didn't get his sergeant the DUI, the police chief says, "There wasn't a state-administered chemical test given to have enough evidence to take to court."

The test these officers used is not admissible in court, but there was enough evidence for his superiors to drop the sergeant title for a lower Patrol Officer First Class. Harkins performance through the next year will be heavily monitored. He has a 12-point list of conditions that he must abide by during the next year.

If he fails, the chief says he will be fired.

  • I-Team Story ArchiveMore>>

  • Get Financially Fit: A Step-By-Step Plan

    Get Financially Fit: A Step-By-Step Plan

    Monday, April 14 2014 9:15 AM EDT2014-04-14 13:15:13 GMT
    April is Financial Literacy Month, so it's time to think about getting financially fit.  Let's start with two questions. Do you know how much you spend each month?  How much of your check should you save?
    April is Financial Literacy Month, so it's time to think about getting financially fit.  Let's start with two questions:  Do you know how much you spend each month?  How much of your check should you save?
  • FOX 5 I-Team

    DON'T MISS: Tax Deductions and Credits

    DON'T MISS: Tax Deductions and Credits

    Friday, April 11 2014 8:48 AM EDT2014-04-11 12:48:55 GMT
    Let's finish up our tax time filing tips that we've offered this season with a quick look at deductions and credits too many folks forget.
    Let's finish up our tax time filing tips that we've offered this season with a quick look at deductions and credits too many folks forget.
  • FOX 5 I-Team

    IRS: Two Scam Warnings

    IRS: Two Scam Warnings

    Monday, April 7 2014 10:44 AM EDT2014-04-07 14:44:51 GMT
    We have two warnings coming from the IRS.  The first one is what investigators call the "largest ever" phone fraud scam targeting taxpayers.
    We have two warnings coming from the IRS.  The first one is what investigators call the "largest ever" phone fraud scam targeting taxpayers.
  • Contact the FOX 5 I-Team

    * denotes required fields

    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thanks for contacting FOX 5.  To reach our newsroom by phone, please call (404) 898-0100.

  • Good Day ArchiveMore>>

  • What's Happening: 2014 Atlanta Steeplechase

    What's Happening: 2014 Atlanta Steeplechase

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:03 AM EDT2014-04-16 14:03:02 GMT
    Photos by Mike Soto Photos by Mike Soto
    One of the most exciting horse races in Georgia happens this Saturday at Kingston Downs.
    One of the most exciting horse races in Georgia happens this Saturday at Kingston Downs.
  • Good Day Atlanta

    Stress-Free Travel

    Stress-Free Travel

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 9:44 AM EDT2014-04-16 13:44:27 GMT
    After a particularly long and nasty winter, spring has finally sprung and folks are planning and taking long-awaited vacations. How do you breeze through the terminal and to your gate stress-free?
    After a particularly long and nasty winter, spring has finally sprung and folks are planning and taking long-awaited vacations. How do you breeze through the terminal and to your gate stress-free?
  • Good Day Atlanta

    Back Home with The Neelys

    Back Home with The Neelys

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 9:40 AM EDT2014-04-16 13:40:13 GMT
    The third cookbook from Food Network superstars Pat and Gina Neely brings us back to the basics of good ol' southern family cooking
    The third cookbook from Food Network superstars Pat and Gina Neely brings us back to the basics of good ol' southern family cooking
Powered by WorldNow

25 FOX Drive
Dedham, MA 02026

Phone (781) 467-2525

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices