By PoliceOne Staff
ALPHARETTA, Ga. — A Georgia police officer was fired after not writing a traffic ticket following a minor crash.
WGCL reports that Alpharetta PD Officer Daniel Capps was recently dispatched to an accident where one driver, Charles Westover, rear-ended another driver at low speed. Westover said the officer acknowledge “it was a minor fender bender and there was no need to issue a ticket.”
Capps wrote in the accident report that only the bumpers of each car were damaged and that he didn’t write a ticket at the crash scene, which led him to losing his job. Officers are required to charge drivers with a criminal misdemeanor any time two cars bump into each other within city limits, according to an Alpharetta PD memo.
The policy applies to car accidents that result in no injuries and minor damages. Officers also don’t have discretion to give warnings.
If an officer is requested to write an accident report, he or she cannot leave without issuing a ticket.
“I was pretty appalled, I am appalled. That doesn’t seem right to put that kind of mark on this gentleman’s life,” Westover said.
A memo by Lt. James Little said anytime there’s “damage that needs to be fixed with more than a little wax and elbow grease, you need to write the citation.”
In a statement, assistant city manager James Drinkard said the officer’s firing was due to “a pattern” of unacceptable behavior.
“While the decision to terminate employment was based, in part, on the former employee’s decision to ignore lawful departmental policy and refuse to properly cite at-fault drivers who caused traffic crashes that resulted in property damage, that behavior was part of a pattern of performance and poor decision making that was simply not acceptable. The City of Alpharetta makes no apology for holding our personnel responsible for properly carrying out their assigned duties, being stewards of the public trust, and advancing our mission to enhance the quality of life of our residents, businesses, and visitors,” the statement said.
Capps’ disciplinary record shows incidents including violating the dress code, leaving his gun unattended on the range during training and charging a juvenile for shoplifting before releasing her to her parent instead of sending her to jail.
Capps was also reprimanded for not writing enough tickets in January. The officer reportedly asked his colleagues if they thought the lieutenant’s policy was unfair, which several said it was. Lt. Little considered that incident an attempt to undermine his authority, leading to Capps being suspended and later fired.