Morrow police chief arrested for DUI

8:52 PM, Nov 17, 2011   |    comments
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  • Morrow Police Chief Jeff Baker
    

MORROW, GA - It almost reads like a police novel, only instead of making a DUI arrest, the star got arrested for DUI himself.

After nearly 20 years in law enforcement and nearly 6 as Morrow's Police Chief, 45-year-old Jeff Baker is in big trouble.

He ended up in the Clayton County Jail early Thursday morning in handcuffs after supposedly being found drunk in his police car and being sarcastic and uncooperative with investigating officers.

RELATED: Read the Clayton County Police Report

"There's going to be an outside agency doing the investigation and the Chief of Police, Chief Baker, is currently on administrative leave with pay," Morrow Police Det. Sgt. Larry Oglesby told 11Alive News.

According to a Clayton County Police report, a Morrow police Sgt. pulled up behind another Morrow police car around 10 Thursday night on Southlake Parkway at State Road 54.

The Morrow Sergeant noticed the other police car sit through two traffic light changes without moving.

The Sgt. got out and found his boss, Chief Baker, asleep behind the wheel of his police car.

When he woke up, the Chief supposedly had trouble rolling down his window, his eyes were red and glassy, his speech slurred and he smelled strongly of alcohol.

The Morrow Sgt. moved his patrol car to block the Chief's and asked him to pull off the road so he could check to see if he was okay to drive.

Instead, Chief Baker supposedly replied, "I will get right on it, buddy", reversed his patrol car, drove around the Sgt.'s car and took off down SR 54.

The Sgt. followed the Chief's car, which he said had trouble maintaining his lane and was speeding on a wet roadway.

Eventually, the Chief drove into his assigned parking spot at the Morrow Police Department.

A Clayton County Police Officer arrived and found Chief Baker smoking a cigarette behind his police department.

The Clayton County officer also said the chief's eyes were red and glassy, his speech was slurred and he smelled strongly of alcohol.

That officer wrote that Chief Baker was sarcastic and refused to submit to field sobriety tests, a breathalyzer or a blood test.

That's when he was handcuffed and taken to jail.

The Clayton County officer said he found eight nearly empty beer cans in the chief's car as well as a cooler containing two unopened hard lemonade bottles.

Jail records indicate Chief Baker was charged with DUI, a red light violation, impeding traffic, having an open alcohol container in his car, driving too fast for conditions, improper lane change and failure to obey an officer's traffic instructions.

Baker got out of jail on a $5,000 bond a few hours after being arrested.

No one answered the door at his Morrow home Thursday and Baker did not return our phone calls.

Meanwhile, the 30 officer strong Morrow Police force is trying to continue enforcing the law without him.

"We're a small department, but we're strong and we're going to continue to do our job," said Sgt. Oglesby.

Some local citizens, including a few paying their tickets at city hall, were shocked.

"It really makes me not feel too safe in one way because they're here to uphold the law," said Rosa Russell.

"I think he should be treated same as we would," said Tammy Hertzog, "He shouldn't be out there drinking and driving."

Morrow City Manager Jeff Eady told 11Alive News on Thursday evening that he placed Chief Baker on administrative leave with pay until an investigation is completed.

Eady said he is still studying police reports and has already received at least one written account from Baker, but isn't ready to draw any firm conclusions just yet.

(11Alive News)

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