Partial transcript of Sheriff Jerry Modena’s news conference

October 4, 2012 

This is a partial transcript of Bibb County Sheriff Jerry Modena’s Thursday news conference about a sobriety-checkpoint encounter between his deputies and Bibb Superior Court Judge Howard Simms, who was stopped at the checkpoint in his red Ford F-150 pickup. The sheriff told how deputy Robert Scarborough conducted a breath test on Simms, who was sitting in his truck. The test registered 0.083. What follows is a word-by-word account of Modena discussing the case and the disciplinary actions against his deputies, much of it with the sheriff reading from prepared remarks:

At the conclusion of the breath test, Capt. Alden Washington and Sgt. Bruce Jordan arrived at the vehicle. Deputy Scarborough showed them the results of the breath test. ... (Modena said Scarborough walked away and that Washington and Jordan “dealt with Simms.”)

Capt. Washington and Sgt. Jordan continued to speak with Simms, who insisted that he was unimpaired and insisted that he would not allow anyone else to drive his vehicle home for him, and that no one at his home could come and pick him up.

Capt. Washington spoke with Simms for approximately five, six minutes. During the encounter, Capt. Washington stated there was no alcoholic beverage visible in Simms’ vehicle. There were no slurred speech, no bloodshot eyes and that Simms appeared the same as he always did. Capt. Washington made the decision to allow Simms to leave the scene and followed him home.

Sheriff Jerry Modena learned of the incident on Monday, Sept. 24, 2012, and an internal affairs investigation was begun immediately. The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office internal affairs investigator’s investigation was concluded on Oct. 2, 2012 -- yesterday.

Sheriff Modena conducted disciplinary hearings with the Bibb County sheriff’s officers involved on Oct. 3, and as a result of these hearings the following disciplinary actions were issued.

Capt. Alden Washington will receive an official reprimand, five days unpaid suspension from duty, a 90-day probationary period and will be sent to a 16-hour course on professional ethics training.

Sgt. Bruce Jordan will receive an official reprimand, three days unpaid suspension from duty, a 90-day probationary period and will be reassigned from the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office HEAT Unit to regular patrol operations.

Deputy Robert Scarborough was found not to have been involved in the decision to allow Simms to leave, and was not disciplined.

(Modena to gathered reporters:) This has been a situation, ... y’all’ve rushed to judge judgment on me. I’ve had a lot of you folks that have worked with me over the years and know that I seek the truth. ... We’ve been transparent about this thing from the very start.

Our investigation now has concluded. ... I’m not gonna take any questions on it because, again, most of you have just hounded and tied this office up. And that’s not necessary, ladies and gentlemen. It is not necessary. ... I swore back in 2000 I would keep this office open, and that’s what I’ve done.

The last two to three days, ... y’all have tied up my phones. ... I have other things I have to do rather than try and give you information. I have told almost all you that called ... that I would have a press conference and would do just what I’ve done. With that said, I bid you all a good day.

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