A former police chief in Alabama was arrested after authorities say he impersonated an officer to get out of a speeding ticket.
Michael Ryan Jones had worked as a police chief for the Brookside Police Department until he left the department on Jan. 25 following an investigation into the Brookside’s aggressive policing tactics, according to AL.com.
On April 12, Jones was pulled over by a deputy with the Covington County Sheriff’s Office, according to a news release. Covington County is about 200 miles south of Brookside.
Jones was clocked driving 78 mph in a 55 mph zone, AL.com reported.
Jones showed the deputy a police badge and identified himself as a peace officer to avoid getting a speeding ticket, according to the sheriff’s office release.
“In this case, we had a young deputy that was trying to be respectful to a supposed veteran officer and gave him a break,” Sheriff Blake Turman said in the news release. “But Jones was not the Chief at Brookside when he held himself out to be, using deception to disrespect that young deputy. “
Jones turned himself in on May 2 at the Covington County Jail and was arrested, the release said. He is charged with impersonating a peace officer, the Covington County Jail told McClatchy News.
“I can’t stand a dirty cop,” Turman told AL.com. “I can stand a thief better than a dirty cop. All they do is take people’s rights. I can’t stand them.”
Members of the community used Facebook to question why the man was let off the hook — even if he had been a police chief.
“So he was given a warning, only because he was thought to be an officer of the law. Twenty miles over speed limit is reckless driving,” one commenter said. “He should have gotten a ticket. I’m sure everyone else pulled over that day or any day for doing the same thing got a ticket. Officers of the law shouldn’t be treated any different.”
“Why would you give someone a warning based on the fact you thought he was a officer of the court?” Another person asked. “Wrong is wrong. If you will do that what else will you look the other way for?”
Turman said that the sheriff’s department is investigating the incident.
“It’s more important now than ever before that law enforcement maintain high levels of professionalism and integrity,” Turman said in the release.