A Macon police officer pulled over the Bibb County district attorney last week after receiving a call that a car was driving erratically, according to Macon police.
Sgt. Lisa Sapp did not believe that District Attorney Howard Simms was driving under the influence of alcohol, but as a “cautionary measure,” she drove Simms in his car to Freedom Park, where his son was playing baseball, said Jami Gaudet, spokeswoman for the police department.
The officer used “discretion” in the situation, not favoritism, and did not violate department policy, Gaudet said.Simms said the officer is the only one who can answer why she drove him to Freedom Park.
“I did not ask for any preferential treatment,” he said.
After receiving a 911 call, Macon police issued a lookout for a car with a government license plate. Sapp pulled over a vehicle matching the given description on Vineville Avenue near Park Place, according to police.
Although Sapp pulled over the car, Simms “wasn’t driving erratically when she saw him,” Gaudet said.
While talking with the driver, Sapp recognized him as Simms. She smelled alcohol inside the car and asked Simms if he had been drinking, according to a police statement.
Simms replied that he had not been drinking. Sapp used her discretion when she drove him to Freedom Park, according to the statement.
Gaudet said Sapp did not perform a field sobriety test or administer a Breathalyzer test for alcohol.
“His speech was not slurred. He was able to articulate answers to questions,” she said. “She did not believe he was driving impaired.”
Although no department policies were violated, the department is considering options for future response to similar incidents, Gaudet said.
There’s nothing in departmental policy that says whether an officer can or can’t drive someone to another location after pulling them over, she said.
Gaudet said the incident was not a show of police favoritism toward the district attorney, who has announced that he intends to seek a Bibb Superior Court judgeship later this year.
“I would call it discretion,” she said. “She used her judgment.
“What she did was in consideration for the driver.”
For more on this story, check back at Macon.com and read Wednesday’s Telegraph.