Officer went to firing range drunk; veteran Red Bank detective resigns after incident

Officer went to firing range drunk; veteran Red Bank detective resigns after incident

October 14th, 2014 by Shelly Bradbury in Local Regional News

Police firing range at Moccasin Bend.

Police firing range at Moccasin Bend.

Illustration by Laura McNutt /Times Free Press.

A Red Bank police detective showed up to the department's annual firearm training a week ago so drunk that fellow officers pulled him from the course and took him back to the station to run blood-alcohol tests.

Doug Millsaps, a 14-year-veteran on the force, blew a 0.114 and a 0.124 on the station's intoxilyzer at 10:30 a.m. and 10:33 a.m., Chief Tim Christol said.

Millsaps was placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation but resigned on Thursday. The internal investigation was closed when he resigned, and Millsaps does not face any charges related to the incident, Christol said.

Millsaps could not be reached for comment Monday.

Here is how events unfolded, according to Christol and an Oct. 10 Internal Affairs summary of the case that he wrote.

Officers first smelled alcohol on Millsaps' breath around 8:30 a.m. Oct. 7, about a half-hour after the gun training started at the Moccasin Bend firing range. Sgt. Dan Seymour gave Millsaps a portable breath test at the range and Millsaps blew a .149 -- almost twice the .08 legal limit for driving.

After that test, Seymour drove Millsaps to the station to test him with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's intoxilyzer. But when he filled out the information on the intoxilyzer, Seymour did not put Millsaps' name into the machine and instead wrote "D, DD" in the name slot.

The intoxilyzer also asks for the test subject's gender, race, date of birth, driver's license number and state. Seymour did not fill out any of those slots and instead kept Millsaps' information entirely out of the official test records.

Christol said he wasn't sure why Seymour filed the paperwork that way.

"I do not know why Dan did not put his name on there," he said. "I did not administer the test."

Seymour could not be reached for comment Monday. Christol said that both Seymour and Millsaps signed the test results.

Christol said Millsaps never actually fired his weapon while he was intoxicated -- but others who were at the range say he did fire it. Christol denied that report.

"The first hour-and-a-half to two hours [of training] is dry firing," Christol said. "There is no live ammunition. It is repetition of skills -- drawing, moving -- the basic skills to reinforce muscle memory. He never fired the first round."

He said that while the incident was "shocking," he thought it was handled appropriately.

But others say the officer should have lost his Police Officer Standards and Training certification and been charged with a crime. Robin Flores, a Chattanooga attorney who previously worked in law enforcement for 10 years, said he is surprised no criminal charges were brought.

"You definitely have a dangerous circumstance where you've got a guy driving under the influence who is on duty, armed and handling a gun," he said. "And you're going to give him a pass? That kind of conduct shows that the department and city is more concerned about covering for their cops than protecting the public."

Under Tennessee law, it is a misdemeanor to possess a handgun while intoxicated. Christol said Millsaps' weapon was unloaded when the officers realized he was intoxicated, and he suggested that the spirit of the law is aimed at loaded handguns, not unloaded.

He added that Millsaps was not charged with driving under the influence because no officer observed him driving and no one could say whether he was swerving or driving erratically.

"To be able to develop reasonable suspicion for a criminal charge, the officers have to observe some indicators that would lead a reasonable person to believe this person may have been drinking prior to or while driving," he said. Later he added, "This was a case where he was already at work and no one observed his driving to indicate anything like that."

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or with tips or story ideas.