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>>

  • Credit Cards v Charge Cards

    Credit Cards v Charge Cards

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 7:48 AM EDT2014-07-23 11:48:23 GMT
    You always hear that it's a great idea to get rid of your credit cards, but sometimes it really is the best way to pay. So here's another option: charge cards.
    You always hear that it's a great idea to get rid of your credit cards, but sometimes it really is the best way to pay. So here's another option: charge cards.
  • FOX 5 I-Team Investigates

    Child traumatically injured in beach house elevator

    Child traumatically injured in beach house elevator

    Monday, July 21 2014 8:09 AM EDT2014-07-21 12:09:54 GMT
    Another child has been seriously injured in a residential elevator accident. This is a warning for any family renting a beach house.
    Another child has been seriously injured in a residential elevator accident. This is a warning for any family renting a beach house.
  • Governor reacts to Ethics allegations

    Governor reacts to Ethics allegations

    Friday, July 18 2014 6:40 PM EDT2014-07-18 22:40:07 GMT
    The Governor sat down with Senior Fox 5 I-Team Reporter Dale Russell for his first television interview following allegations of strong-arming by a member of his staff.
    The Governor sat down with Senior Fox 5 I-Team Reporter Dale Russell for his first television interview following allegations of strong-arming by a member of his staff.
  • 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>>

  • Back to School Jamboree with Hosea Feed The Hungry

    Back to School Jamboree with Hosea Feed The Hungry

    Hosea Feed the Hungry will host their annual Back to School Jamboree on Sunday, July 13, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Turner Field. Children will receive a backpack filled with school supplies.

    Hosea Feed the Hungry will host their annual Back to School Jamboree on Sunday, July 13, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Turner Field. Children will receive a backpack filled with school supplies.

  • 'National Dance Day' takes stage nationwide

    'National Dance Day' takes stage nationwide

    Thursday, July 24 2014 9:33 AM EDT2014-07-24 13:33:07 GMT
    Nigel Lythgoe Co-Creator, Executive Producer and Judge of the hit FOX TV show “So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD)” which reignited America’s passion for dance and has become a pop culture phenomenon, announces that the 5th annual National Dance Day will take place on Saturday, July 26.
    Nigel Lythgoe Co-Creator, Executive Producer and Judge of the hit FOX TV show “So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD)” which reignited America’s passion for dance and has become a pop culture phenomenon, announces that the 5th annual National Dance Day will take place on Saturday, July 26.
  • Former "X Factor" Favorite Opens Studio, Trains Future Superstars

    Former "X Factor" Favorite Opens Studio, Trains Future Superstars

    Thursday, July 24 2014 9:05 AM EDT2014-07-24 13:05:59 GMT
    Any fan of FOX's "The X Factor" will remember Tara Simon, a Top 24 finalist on Season 2. She didn't go all the way on the show, but her career
     Any fan of FOX's "The X Factor" will remember Tara Simon, a Top 24 finalist on Season 2. She didn't go all the way on the show, but her career as a singer -- and singing coach -- couldn't be going better.
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