Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.  An online newspaper

Columbia County News

Columbia County Sheriff's Corrections Officer Arrested For DUI: Refuses breathalyzer test, Sheriff not investigating

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Veteran Columbia County Sheriff's Correction Officer, Troy Green, was arrested in the early morning hours of May 23, 2012, after his white Ford pickup truck ran a stop sign and drove into a ditch off Bascom Norris Highway and US 41.

According to the police report, Sheriff's Deputy Martin Lee was out on patrol in the early morning hours of May 23. While he was traveling north on US 41, he noticed a white Ford pickup truck traveling "at a high rate of speed" towards the intersection of US 41 and Bascom Norris.

The police report put it this way, "The vehicle failed to stop at the stop sign and continue[d] traveling across US 41 locking its brakes sliding into the ditch."

"When I made contact with the white male driver, I could tell that his eyes were red and he appeared to be intoxicated."

Deputy Lee asked the driver if he worked for the Sheriff. Deputy Green said he did.

At that point, Deputy Lee called in Sgt. Howard Bulthuis of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

Sgt. Bulthuis is known throughout law-enforcement circles and the public as being a straight arrow.

After Sgt. Bulthuis arrived on the scene, he directed that the Florida Highway Patrol be called in to conduct the investigation.

Florida Highway Patrol Trooper, J. De Jesus, arrived on the scene shortly thereafter and conducted a DUI investigation.

According to the FHP arrest affidavit of Trooper De Jesus, "At approximately 11:55pm I read Miranda rights to Mr. Green."

Trooper De Jesus then went through the series of tests required to charge a suspect with DUI.

Officer Green did not do very well.

Then Trooper De Jesus reported the following:

At approximately 12:31 AM I informed the defendant he was being place[d] under arrest for driving under the influence. I informed him that once we arrived at the jail, I would read implied consent to him. He said he would not blow into the machine. I asked if he was aware of the consequences of refusing, that he would lose his license for a period of 12 months. To which he stated, he had already lost his job. At 12:35 AM I read implied consent to Mr. Green.

Trooper De Jesus arrested Officer Green for DUI.

Officer Green was then transported to the Columbia County Jail by the CCSO.


Officer Green was not suspended, nor is the Sheriff conducting an investigation into this matter.

Failure to take a breathalyzer test results in an immediate one-year suspension of one's driver's license. In order to work for the Sheriff one must have a valid driver's license.

According to a captain in the Sheriff's office, the Sheriff will not investigate this incident because Officer Green "is protected by the Officer's Bill of Rights."

The Observer spoke with independent police experts who have almost 60 years of combined police experience. None interpreted the Police Officers Bill of Rights in the manner interpreted by the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

Corrections Officer Green was back at work two days after the incident and on the payroll of Sheriff Mark Hunter.

It is not clear how Officer Green is getting back and forth to work.

Comments  (to add a comment go here)

On May 30, 2012, DD of Lake City wrote:

I just want to say that I have come to depend on the Columbia County Observer to tell me what is really going on.  Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the truth.


On May 30, 2012, Terry Rauch of Lake City wrote:

Most people think "innocent until proven guilty" doesn't apply to law enforcement officers, but it does. Why would the sheriff office make any motion in this matter if this matter is alleged?

Yes, you do lose your license but you have the right to be heard by a judge on your actions and a judge will decide if you lose your license based on the evidence produce at a hearing.

If the sheriff office took an action then they are stating this man is guilty. This matter happen when the person in question was "off duty" on his "personal time." I see no reason for the sheriff office to do anything until a judge passes judgment on this matter. Although I am not an expert on the policies of the Columbia Sheriff Office, I do have "common sense" and it's telling me don't make judgment too quickly until you know all of the facts.

Let's try something new, let's uphold the laws of our land. Which from what I can see the sheriff office is doing.


On May 31, Rudolph Davis of Lake City wrote (Mr. Davis is a candidate for Sheriff - Ed):

I speak from the policies of most law enforcement agencies; If an officer get arrested for DUI, and he/she refuses to take the breathe test, he/she should immediately be place on administrated leave with pay, and an internal investigation should be initiated.

The criminal investigation and the internal investigation operate on two different principles, and they can run concurrent to one another. After the internal investigation is completed, and if the policy violations are sustained against the officer, the officer should be disciplined but if the policy violations are not sustained, the officer should return to work.

The Officer Bill of Rights covers how an internal investigation should be conducted on an officer, and that it should not precede more than 180 days, not that you have to wait 6 months to 2 years to start the internal investigation, which this criminal case could take in court. An internal investigation can be extended pass 180 days, if there is just cause to extend it.


On June 1, Thomas wrote:

 While I am absolutely not condoning or defending the actions of the CO and am strongly opposed to driving a vehicle intoxicated, I would like to make some points.

• This is America and all citizens, yes even those in law enforcement, are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. If the Sheriff were to fire the CO prior to being convicted there could be liability issues for the County for wrongful termination.

• The CO apparently did refuse the intoxilizer test however that does not necessarily equate to an automatic suspension of his license. He may apply to the courts for a hardship work permit only license that a judge may issue. In addition if all elements of implied consent were not correctly followed the refusal may not stand a legal challenge.

• The Sheriffs Office spokesman is correct, you don't want to start an internal administrative investigation until the criminal case is concluded. Under F.S. 112, the law enforcement officers bill of rights, officers are compelled to cooperate in internal investigations. This can cause conflict with the criminal case with issues such as the right against self incrimination, being forced to give a statement, etc. arise. Most agencies don't mix these issues except in extreme cases.

• Finally, while it sounds a bit cavalier, unless the CO is required to operate a county vehicle as part of his job at the jail it really does not matter how he gets to work at the jail, taxi, wife, Mom, etc. as long as he does not violate the law and drive on a suspended license to work.


On June 3, 2012, citizen49a from Lake City wrote:

We have an admitted former pot smoker and cocaine user for president, so why not a sheriff's deputy who apparently likes to drive illegally under the influence? Come on, this is Columbia County, where the in crowd in government gets to do what they like. The rest of us, well, we get to pay them taxes that get spent in secret meetings and obey laws that don't apply to them.

This would be front page news in any other city of this size in the state. Here, it just didn't happen as far as the local paper is concerned. That's the way it is with just about anything of substance that might step on the wrong person's toes here. It just never happened. Rather convenient for the sheriff, with an election coming up questions about this would inappropriate right now, I guess.

This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

Meeting Calendar
No need to be confused - Find links to agendas and where your participation is welcome.

Make a comment • click here •
All comments are displayed at the end of the article and are moderated.