The interim police chief in Scottsboro, Alabama, was arrested Saturday on Lake Guntersville on allegations that he was operating a boat while under the influence.
Scottsboro Police Department Maj. Ronald Wayne Latimer, appointed to serve as the city's interim police chief starting June 1, is now on paid administrative leave, according to a statement issued Tuesday by the city and information on the city's social media page.
"This past weekend there was an incident involving interim police Chief Latimer on Lake Guntersville. At this time, Chief Latimer will be placed on paid administrative leave pending a review of all facts and information. We will update the public as soon as we can, thank you for your patience," the city's statement reads.
Scottsboro police Capt. Scott Matthews will handle any administrative duties for the time being, city officials said.
Attempts to reach Latimer for comment Wednesday were unsuccessful, and Scottsboro Mayor Robin Shelton did not return a call Wednesday seeking comment. Marshall County Circuit Court officials said Latimer had no attorney on record as of Wednesday afternoon.
Troopers with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Marine Patrol Division made the arrest, according to booking information at the Marshall County Sheriff's Office in Guntersville. Latimer was freed Sunday on a $1,500 bond, jail records show.
Alabama state troopers stopped a 2020 Cobalt boat about a half-mile south of Lake Guntersville State Park on Lake Guntersville near Short Creek at 7:40 p.m. CDT Saturday, according to a statement from law enforcement agency spokesperson Amanda Wasden. The stop was for "careless operation and failure to display current registration," Wasden said.
The arrest took place well south of the Scottsboro city limits, closer to the city of Guntersville.
Troopers said Latimer was operating a boat owned by a friend.
Latimer was arrested for boating under the influence and careless operation of a vessel, Wasden said, and he received a written warning for failing to wear the vessel's emergency shut-off switch lanyard. The vessel's owner, who was not named, received a written warning for not having the required personal flotation devices on board, she said.
In a post on Scottsboro's website commenting on the statement issued Tuesday, frequent Guntersville Lake user Brandon Parker called for fairness and said Latimer's alleged actions were dangerous.
"He was arrested for a DUI in a boat. We should expect our officers to be held to a higher standard," Parker wrote in his post Tuesday. "I am on the lake every chance I get, he has put my safety, as well as the safety of many others just like me at risk by his actions.
"I hope the consequences of his choices are consistent with the consequences of anyone else who doesn't have a badge," Parker wrote.
Scottsboro resident Shelia Washington, however, defended Latimer.
"Ron is a great person, sorry this happen to him, and the media is trying to ruin his ability to be police [chief]," Washington wrote. "He is not the first nor will he be the last."
Court officials said Latimer has an appearance set for Jan. 8, 2021.
Contact Ben Benton at email@example.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.
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