The mayor of Jacksonville has been jailed on criminal charges after county sheriff’s deputies pulled him over while driving a city police cruiser.
After the incident, officials conducted an investigation that lasted over a week. County deputies arrested Jacksonville Mayor John Dopson on Monday after accusations that he had pulled an individual over—all while allegedly impersonating a police officer and under the influence of drugs. The investigation into Mayor Dopson’s conduct revealed that he often used police patrol cars as his primary means of transportation both on and off hours.
Mayor Dopson was subsequently arrested and charged with impersonating a police officer and driving under the influence of drugs. Dopson was being held Tuesday at the Telfair County jail on charges of impersonating an officer and driving under the influence.
The accusation by the individual that Mayor Dopson pulled over was not the only accusation on that date. There were also calls and complaints that Dopson had been sighted driving the police patrol vehicle dangerously and recklessly out of control.
Chris Steverson, current Telfair County Sheriff responded to the complaints: ”When it got to the point that we were getting complaints that he was activating the blue lights on the car, then we became more concerned, especially if he was trying to stop or control traffic,” he remarked. “There was a lady who said he initiated a traffic stop on her because he wanted to talk to her.”
On other occasions town residents complained that they often saw Mayor Dopson driving one of the city’s only two police cars as if it was his own personal vehicle.
Sheriff Steverson posted a statement on the official Facebook page for the Telfair County Sheriff’s Office regarding the arrest. His response to why the sheriff’s office’s arrested Dopson their reasons were:
“Citizens should have confidence a marked police cruiser will be operated by a legitimate law enforcement officer and not just someone with access to a police car, living out some childhood fantasy,” the public Facebook statement reads. “Because of the seriousness and potential for danger resulting from violations of this law, as well as our goal to maintain the public’s confidence in our law enforcement services, the Telfair County Sheriff’s Office will aggressively pursue charges against anyone attempting to perpetrate these crimes against the motoring public.”
According to the Sheriff, Dopson was originally charged with impersonating a police officer but was then also charged with driving under the influence after he declined to submit for a blood and urine test following his arrest.
“He refused those tests, indicating to the officers that he didn’t want to take it because he had ‘weed’ in his system,” Steverson said. “That’s what he called it,” when prompted.
To date, both Jacksonville city officials and Dopson’s attorney, David Venable, have declined to comment on the mayor’s arrest.
Dobson’s arrest this week isn’t his first. Last March he was charged with aggravated assault pointing a gun at another man in an incident that was captured on video.