Cherokee Co. district attorney releases statement on investigator's DUI arrest, job fate
Michael O'Dell, the district attorney for the 9th Judicial Court of Alabama, released a statement Tuesday regarding the arrest of one of his investigators for drunken driving over the weekend.
Fort Payne police arrested Gary Williams, a child support investigator under O'Dell, following a traffic stop at 3:30 a.m. Saturday. A witness called police after seeing the Dodge Charger Williams was driving hit a guardrail on Interstate 59 and police witnessed Williams driving erratically before making the stop.
O'Dell states in the release that despite the serious nature of Williams' actions and the embarrassment brought to his office, he will not be terminated.
"His actions brought embarrassment to this office and to his coworkers." O'Dell states. "I have been both angry at, and very disappointed with him. But, I do not believe the right thing to do would be to abandon one of my co-workers, even under these very difficulty circumstances -- that is not who I am."
Michael O'Dell, District Attorney
O'Dell reveals that Williams admitted to being an alcoholic and was in need of help. Rather than relieving him of his duties, O'Dell has formulated an alternate plan making Williams accountable for his actions which includes a demotion, reduction in pay, suspension of credentials and the forfeiture of his gun and badge. He will also be responsible for all damages to the vehicle.
"...it is my intent to include a restorative component to the process Mr. Williams will be going through, much like the Drug Court Program deals with addicts." O'Dell states. "I intend to give Mr. Williams an opportunity to get the help he needs to overcome his addiction and to prove to me, and this community -- including law enforcement -- that he deserves a second chance."
O'Dell continued by saying if Williams fails to meet any of the requirements set out for his continued employment, he "will be terminated immediately."
Williams entered an in-house alcohol treatment facility Tuesday and upon his release, he will be reassigned to administrative duties.
"His future is up to him." O'Dell said. "Restoring respect and trust among your colleagues, and the community we serve, is a very difficult task, but I believe Mr. Williams is capable of succeeding in this journey, and I commit to do all I can to help him obtain the help and rehabilitation he so desperately needs, in the hope that someday he might be restored to his former position."