EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated from an earlier version to include additional information about the incident.
A Porterdale police officer is out of a job after the chief said he terminated the officer “on the spot” after finding he had been drinking alcohol before he went on patrol in a city cruiser in late June.
Officer Ryan Boston lost his job after Chief Jason Cripps said he found Boston had been drinking before Boston went on routine patrol June 29.
“Within an hour we were removing his weapon,” Cripps said.
Cripps said he received an anonymous tip that day at about 6 p.m. that an officer was on the job and driving under the influence of alcohol.
“It was discovered through an internal investigation that he was (under the influence of alcohol) and he was terminated immediately,” Cripps said.
The chief said he and a lieutenant terminated the officer and his separation from the city became final July 3.
He said the internal investigation was an administrative hearing “and with what we were given this is how we acted on,” he said.
“It was an employee and he does have rights,” Cripps said. “I have to follow some rules.”
However, Cripps also said his department gave the officer a ride home rather than him being investigated for driving under the influence by another law enforcement agency.
The chief said the reason for the action and other information will come out when the incident report and personnel action become public record in coming days.
Some have criticized the action on social media and in other areas of the community as the officer being given special treatment — in part because of Boston’s relation to the chief because he is Cripps’ wife’s nephew.
Boston had served as a patrolman in the department since September 2018. Cripps said he needed Boston to fill an officer position at the time because of an ongoing manpower shortage issue in the department. He said he also informed a former city manager of Boston's relation to him, which was the only requirement for hiring him because the city does not have a nepotism policy.
He said the termination also was reported to the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, also known as POST, which is the agency that certifies sworn peace officers under state law.
Porterdale Police Department previously had honored Boston publicly during the July 1, 2019, city council meeting in recognition of his “commitment and dedication” to the city after he quickly detained an armed male suspect during a gas station robbery in June 2019.
Cripps said Boston was “a good cop” but he made a mistake.
“He worked hard. He got a couple accolades. He got compliments. He showed to work on time,” he said. “But he was a human being and humans make mistakes and he was held accountable for that mistake.
“If you make a mistake here, you will be held accountable,” Cripps said.
The department includes eight officer positions though only five are now filled, Cripps said.