“You are not at Toppers. You are not in your room either. You are in a bush.”

Some headers just write themselves.  But I digress.

You see, the Georgia legislature actually did something sensible.  It passed a law that gave amnesty from arrest in cases where an underage drinker got so sick they needed medical help.

But the legislature didn’t count on one Jimmy Williamson.

And that brings us back to that Friday night in the parking lot in front of Reed Hall. An 18-year-old student is taken away by ambulance. But Officer Park is still ordered to charge her with underage drinking because to qualify for amnesty, he’s told she had to be the one to call for help, instead of her friend.

“Captain’s interpretation made absolutely no sense. I told them it made no sense.” Park said to FOX 5 I-Team reporter Randy Travis.

His supervisors told him they’d have a meeting Monday to consult with local prosecutors and figure out how they should handle amnesty cases. But before his Saturday midnight shift, Park decided on his own to call a judge and two state lawmakers for advice, including the state senator who proposed the underage drinking amnesty law.

“I think initially even law enforcement in Athens was confused,” said state senator Bill Cowsert of Athens.

Senator, you see that as a bug.  Ol’ Jimmy sees that as a feature.

“I’m a police officer. My sgt’s telling me to get an arrest warrant for someone where I know I’m not supposed to. What am I supposed to do?” Park said later.

Park went back to the station and then went home. On Monday, chief Jimmy Williamson called him back in and told the five-year veteran he was fired for calling outsiders on his own to ask about the amnesty law.

“He never came to me about his concerns or confusion about what was going on in shift,” chief Williamson explained.

“Sounds like he was being a lot more liberal with the law than you wanted him to be,” said Randy.

“I don’t have any problem with him questioning. That’s not the issue.”

Park’s personnel file shows an earlier reprimand for going outside the chain of command. As for the amnesty law, Williamson says they were initially unclear about how to handle cases where the caller doesn’t ask for medical assistance… but just reports a drunk person.

Chief: Amnesty doesn’t apply if we are required to get EMS involved.

Randy: So the caller has to use the magic words “I want an ambulance” for the amnesty to apply in that situation?

Chief: I think when it says seeking medical help, that’s kind of how we’re looking at it.

Well, that’s nice.  If not consistent.

Up until that Tennessee game last fall, UGA police had not granted amnesty for a single underage drinking case. Compare that number… zero… to how many amnesty cases have happened since Park’s firing: 38 through the end of February, including those two cases that originally got him in so much trouble on the Tennessee game weekend. Those students were ultimately not charged.

Maybe Jimmy’s trying to prove he’s not out to get just student-athletes.

48 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

48 responses to ““You are not at Toppers. You are not in your room either. You are in a bush.”

  1. mwo

    Williamson won’t get in any shit because ACC government likes the revenue stream his department provides. It is not just student athletes they are harassing, it is every student there. With all the bars in Athens it is like hunting over a baited field. Williamson is an ass and seems to relish being one.

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    • He does not work for ACC. He works for the State of Georgia. His zero tolerance, we are badass attitude was just what Mike Adams wanted.

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    • SCDawg

      There has been some really interesting reporting recently concerning the reliance on fines and court fees to fund local government. Even hiring private companies to do the work, which don’t charge the government anything, they just tack on a fee for each defendant. But guess what? The fees are independent of the fine you owe for violating the law, and you pay the fees first, not the fines, which puts people who can’t pay the whole thing at once in a terrible cycle. By doing this, local governments get a revenue stream and get to brag about not raising taxes. But they have to make those arrests and hand out those tickets to keep the money flowing!

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    • PTC DAWG

      It is all about revenue/fines…period.

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  2. I saw his speech at orientation last year. He tries to scare the hell out of parents to make himself look like the super hero of UGA. The reality is that he’s what Mayberry would have become if Barney Fife ever became the sheriff.

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    • 79Dawg

      Over a decade ago, he actually had the gall to tell students at one orientation that they basically had “no rights” on his campus…

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  3. Park needs to get Jimmy Williamson’s job. Campus police should look out for the students well being, first and foremost.

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  4. I attended undergrad at Vanderbilt and law school at Georgia. Vanderbilt’s police force was there, in many respects, to keep the outside world off campus. ACCPD in Athens were great as well. UGAPD? The only times I saw them doing anything was to hand out open container tickets for people carrying beer bottles around.

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  5. Hogbody Spradlin

    So it’s tough enchiladas if you’re passed out? What a little Napoleon.

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  6. Bones McCoy

    “Dammit Jim, he’s a police officer, not a doctor!”

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  7. JCDAWG83

    For the most part, cops are dooshes.

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  8. ASEF

    Firing a guy because he did something the police chief should have done when the law was passed? UGA needs to jump on that. That’s an office culture ripe for disaster.

    There’s something deeply amusing about absolute dictators of small ponds. Doesn’t make it any easier on the fish who have to swim in those waters, but the sheer self-absorption of guys and gals like Jimmy needs a spotlight as often as it can be shined.

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  9. JTP

    The crew from Reno 911 were better cops than this guy. And way funnier.

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  10. Deep Purple

    Jimmy Williamson has been an out of control maniac for years.

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    • Macallanlover

      I agree. You will find me behind law enforcement 99% of the time, and believe they are too lax in dealing with offenders more often than not. But Williamson seems to have an ego that needs to be reeled in, and should have been done years ago. He was likely a poor choice from the start but seemed to spin out of control and hit another gear under Adams’ misguided regime. Williamson, and his lack of judgment, gives the great reputation law enforcement has earned, and deserves, a bad name. Time to correct this wrong.

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  11. Underage consumption should not be an arrestable offense. It should be a citation like an open container. Make it an aggravating offense, so if a crime is committed while intoxicated underage, any potential victim is given some sort of protection/measure of justice. Otherwise, why arrest a 19-year-old for drinking two beers?

    If the person is unsafe or falls into either category for public intoxication, then you have to keep them/others safe, but I don’t really see the benefit for someone not a danger to themselves or others (or just doing gross stuff they shouldn’t be doing in public).

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  12. DawgPhan

    I guess this sort of answers the question about how UGA’s president would respond to an incident like the VABC story in VA.

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  13. The wrong guy got fired. Bottom line.

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  14. Scorpio Jones, III

    Maybe some of our legal eagles should point out to Jimmy his job is to enforce law, not interpret law…

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  15. truck

    How much longer are we going to have to put up with this clown until he is fired?

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  16. DawgPhan

    Take a few minutes and fire off a polite email to president@uga.edu

    Let Morehead know that this isnt acceptable. You can also share the story via social media.

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  17. 3rdandGrantham

    At the end, Williamson said that he (Park) would still have a job if he simply would have let them handle it.

    But the fact remains that Williamson clearly didn’t handle it at all, given their “uncertainty” over the new law, along with the number of amnesty cases before and after Park’s firing. Besides, if you’re uncertain or unclear about a particular law, just how difficult would have it been to pick up a phone and get clarification? This is very basic stuff here that anyone with a 90 IQ would be able to quickly ascertain.

    Finally, Willlamson’s “interpretation” of the law was that the person in question would have to request amnesty in order for it to apply. Pray tell how you expect someone passed on in a bush or next to a toilet to recite an amnesty provision of a recently passed state law, in effort to exonerate them from arrest.

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  18. Scorpio Jones, III

    Bottom line, it appears, is that Jimmy really wanted to be a real POlice and this is the best job he could get. He has also caused roster management issues for the football program. How does he keep his job?

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    • Mayor

      So maybe Jimmy needs to become a Georgia State Patrol officer–God’s Special PO-lice. He can give out all the tickets that he wants then.

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  19. Aladawg

    Sounds like a “Whistleblower case”. Park needs to file suit for “Whistleblower status”.

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  20. D.N. Nation

    Jimmy Williamson encourages his department to break the law. He should be fired.

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  21. 69Dawg

    It’s time for the administration to step in and retake the campus cops. I watched the HBO video above and it reminded me of a law that was put on the books in Georgia during Governor Maddox’s administration. That law was that a municipality could not make over a certain percent of it’s revenue from traffic tickets. Georgia had always been known for it’s speed traps and Lester was mad about that. The City of Mountain View in Clayton County was disenfranchised by the State for this offense and the City Hall became a State Patrol Post. The State should set limits on the amounts a city or county can get from fines and outlaw the use of third party probation companies for misdemeanors. Oh yea and Jimmy should be fired yesterday, he is the worst kind of law enforcement, the one who makes up laws as he goes along. Jimmy would have been a great guy in the 60’s he is our Bull Connors.

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    • mwo

      I got a speeding ticket in Mountain View in 1977. I was only 16 and they called my parents to come pay the fine on the spot. I spent 2 hours locked in the bathroom at their city hall. That was the equivalent of their holding cell.

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    • Bulldog Joe

      The (previous) administration set the zero-tolerance law to begin with. The UGA police are required to enforce it.

      The current administration can introduce some common sense by taking the “zero-tolerance” out of it.

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  22. DawgFaithful

    Williamson is a piece of shit. They basically fired a cop for listening to his conscience and using common sense. And according to his record he’s done it before. Good for him. Hopefully he’ll get another working for a competent employer.

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  23. DawgFaithful

    “I think initially even law enforcement in Athens was confused,”

    This may be the “no shit sherlock” statement of the year.

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  24. TJ

    The UGA PD is a disgrace. They treat fans like dirt on gamedays. It’s amazing to see the difference between them and other campus police around the region. They’re EXTREMELY hostile in Athens. Not so in other places.

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    • Scorpio Jones, III

      It would not surprise me to see them turn the fire hoses on the crowd at the end of a game….oh…wait…

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  25. Bulldog Joe

    The UGA police do assist in getting students to the ER when necessary. If the student is 21 or over, they are very helpful without a second thought.

    However, UGA’s zero-tolerance law, implemented under the previous administration, puts students who happen to be under the age of 21 at risk. The requirement for an arrest gets in the way of getting medical attention to the student.

    Common sense loses out in a zero-tolerance environment.

    This is why the legislature got involved.

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