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DUI arrest prompts dismissal of deputy

Posted: June 8, 2012 - 4:13pm  |  Updated: June 8, 2012 - 4:16pm
Gregory Smith was fired from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office following an arrest Friday for DUI.  Columbia County Sheriff's Office
Columbia County Sheriff's Office
Gregory Smith was fired from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office following an arrest Friday for DUI.

Twitter @ValerieRowell

A Columbia County sheriff’s deputy was terminated Friday following an arrest for driving under the influence.

Deputy Gregory Smith was arrested at about 1 a.m. in Richmond County for driving under the influence, speeding and a handlebar violation, according to Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris.

Smith was terminated for policy violations, specifically conduct unbecoming a law enforcement officer.

“Because of Smith’s position in law enforcement and the public trust bestowed upon him, to say that we are disappointed is an understatement,” Morris wrote in an email Friday afternoon.

Smith, a former Richmond County sheriff’s deputy, has worked in Columbia County since March 2009.

“As we’ve demonstrated in the past, we enforce the law, and in this case enforce our policies no matter who is involved,” Morris said.

“To have an officer involved in such activity is not only a violation of the law and the public’s trust, but also a dishonor to this agency and the deputies who uphold the integrity and honor that goes along with the badge.”

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Comments (14)


What the heck is "a handlebar

What the heck is "a handlebar violation"? Good for RCSO; these guys are known to give each other passes.

Barry Paschal

Handlebar violation

My understanding is that Georgia law prohibits motorcycle grips more than 15 inches above the seat height. This means he has "apehanger" bars in excess of the legal limit. Minor, compared to a DUI.

Craig Spinks


that Clay doesn't play. And neither does Steve.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence


Ironic Statement

Actually, it is an ironic statement by Dr. Spinks.


Let's get to the facts

Let's get to the facts please. Did Deputy Smith submit to a field sobreity test? Did the arresting RCSD smell alcohol on the subjects breath? Or did the arresting officer profile Smith as he observed him leaving a bar or nightclub and pull him just because? Did the arresting officer "observe" Smith traveling at a high rate of speed, or did he "clock" Deputy Smith. As the human eye cannot calibrate motor vehicle speed the eye can see someone leave a bar and get on a scooter with handlebars too high. The eye can see if a subject is leaving a bar and "appears" to be too intoxicated to operate a motor vehicle. The question begs, if the arresting officer indeed did observe Smith leave an establishment and appear to be intoxicated why then didn't he stop Smith before he attempted to ride off on his motorcycle and possibly do harm to himself or someone else? We all need a course on sensitivity training at some point in time. Preventive measures and common sense goes a long way. Btw I have known Greg Smith since he started his career with RCSD about 29 years ago. You could not find a more honest and trustworthy person as you will in Greg. He is an outstanding father to his son and an outstanding Deputy to the community. Just the fact that I know Greg and know that he would never falsify a report either as a Deputy or as an Investigator for both RCSG and CCSD, and I have known plenty that have falsified reports, it would be a plus for any Sheriffs Dept. to have Greg as a deputy. Serving the Sheriff and the community has been his life for most of his life and sometimes, just sometimes, we all fall victim of being human. Just keep the strong faith you've always had Greg and move forward. Sometimes going to where it all began can be the best medicine.



@bebo: He can't be charged

@bebo: He can't be charged with speeding if he wasn't clocked. Otherwise it would be reckless driving or too fast for conditions.

Sweet son

@bebo and bdouglas;

Maybe the deputy was not near the drinking establishment and maybe he just observed Mr. Smith in traffic. Maybe Mr. Smith was not paying much attention and the deputy was following and pacing Mr. Smith. Or maybe the deputy was up on equipment on a motorcycle to visualize that the handle bars were illegal. Illegal handle bars would have been probable cause to stop and at that point Mr. Smith being a deputy was not dumb enough to try to run. Then there are many ways to arrest for possible DUI. Field sobriety, eye test with the pen (can't think of the name) and others.

Not being critical but we were not there and I have known Greg Smith in the past and I too know that he was a good cop.



I disagree, bdouglas. I have seen officers use "visual estimation" and then ticket someone for a generalized charge of "speeding in excess of the posted speed limit."

Also, by firing Smith for an arrest of suspicion of DUI rather than for a conviction of DUI, the Sheriff's Office is certainly sends a message consistent with some citizen's theory that in our society today, Defendants are guilty until proven innocent.


CC plows over Springfield

Was he the CCSO deputy that plowed over Rick Springfield when he went into the crowd? Just asking. Did not see his face. He does look like the one that stood by the CC commissioners in a public meeting with his hands across his chest.


Motorcycle patrol

Many many years ago there was a RCSO motorcycle patrolman who was shot in the derriere while exiting a married woman's home. LOL


Really soapy?

I've been affiliated with law enforcement in this area for a long time. I don't recall that incident. When did it happen? And how is it related to this incident?


There will always be a play

There will always be a play on words and when you get down to the dirty they all mean the same. I'll just say this much sweet son, Greg is possibly one of the finest people I've ever known and I'm glad you have nice things to say about him. Personally I think those that feel the same about him should rally around him and give him the same support he has given others in the past. I'm not real sure about over the limit stats and I'm not sure if refusing to take a field sobriety test automatically lands you in jail or not. Further details should be included as the paper post's these stories. I'm with you Greg and what ever happens here on out be sure that their is life after law enforcement.



Refusing road side sobriety test

In Georgia if you refuse the roadside test you are supposed to be taken to jail and have your drivers liscence suspened for 6 months that is if your name is not Ben Harbin


I have to agree with

I have to agree with gregleopard's comment ...The officer was only charged with DUI not convicted. Are the laws different for law enforcement? Isn't he innocent until proven guilty? I think maybe someone is trying to make an example of officer Smith. I have met officer Smith and he has always been extremely dedicated to law enforcement...almost to a fault. He is a big part of the community and I think his dismissal is a big mistake. Isn't this the same officer that has done so much for JD Paugh's family? Organizing the fund raisers etc?