I-Team: Floyd Co. Sergeant dodges DUI for demotion - Fox 2 News Headlines

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>>

  • Family of Helen shooting victim wonder if hijab triggered incident

    Family of Helen shooting victim wonder if hijab triggered incident

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:11 PM EDT2014-09-03 02:11:59 GMT
    For the first time, a family member of the tourist shot down in the streets of Helen, Georgia is speaking out.
    For the first time, a family member of the tourist shot down in the streets of Helen, Georgia is speaking out.
  • Patient: Hospice company failed me too

    Patient: Hospice company failed me too

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 10:37 PM EDT2014-08-28 02:37:56 GMT
    The state is now looking into a defunct hospice provider originally investigated by the Fox 5 I-Team.
    The state is now looking into a defunct hospice provider originally investigated by the Fox 5 I-Team.
  • Hidden fees in checking accounts: Who's transparent, who's not

    Hidden fees in checking accounts: Who's transparent, who's not

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 8:10 AM EDT2014-08-27 12:10:06 GMT
    We already know about some of the fees our banks charge -- the monthly fee, the overdraft charge, out-of-network and minimum balance fees. That's standard stuff. But did you know that the average checking account has 30 fees attached?
    We already know about some of the fees our banks charge -- the monthly fee, the overdraft charge, out-of-network and minimum balance fees. That's standard stuff. But did you know that the average checking account has 30 fees attached?
  • 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>>

  • Casting Call: August 27

    Casting Call: August 27

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 1:42 PM EDT2014-09-02 17:42:30 GMT
    Check out the Good Day Atlanta Casting Call for the week of August 27.
    Check out the Good Day Atlanta Casting Call for the week of August 27.
  • Good Day Atlanta

    From bean to cup: Inside Smyrna's Rev Coffee Roasters

    From bean to cup: Inside Smyrna's Rev Coffee Roasters

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:02 AM EDT2014-09-02 12:02:31 GMT
    If you're idea of a good cup of coffee is something strong from the old one-cup in your kitchen, it's time for a coffee education!
    If you're idea of a good cup of coffee is something strong from the old one-cup in your kitchen, it's time for a coffee education!
  • Nonprofit pairs shelter dogs with jail inmates

    Nonprofit pairs shelter dogs with jail inmates

    Monday, September 1 2014 1:24 PM EDT2014-09-01 17:24:57 GMT
    There is a program giving inmates and dogs a second chance. Canine Cellmates saves dogs from being euthanized and pairs them up with inmates at the Fulton County Jail.
    There is a program giving inmates and dogs a second chance. Canine Cellmates saves dogs from being euthanized and pairs them up with inmates at the Fulton County Jail.
Powered by WorldNow

WJBK-TV | Fox 2
16550 West Nine Mile Rd.
Southfield, MI 48075

Main Station: (248) 557-2000
Newsroom: (248) 552-5103

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