Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former Brooksville police officer takes plea deal

BROOKSVILLE — The legal saga of a disgraced Brooksville police officer has ended quietly with a plea deal.

Bryan Drinkard, 44, pleaded no contest last week to charges of stalking, trespassing, grand theft and violating a dating injunction. He received one year of house arrest followed by three years of probation, and was given credit for 115 days served in jail.

Drinkard also must forfeit his law enforcement and corrections certifications, and he agreed to never reapply for those certifications in Florida.

"If you're out doing things like this, stealing and stalking, you probably shouldn't be a law enforcement officer," said Assistant State Attorney Donald "Sonny" McCathran.

Drinkard, records say, had at different times stalked former girlfriend and co-worker Tiffany Still, taken jewelry and a checkbook from her home and, in one case, arranged for a fellow officer to help him follow her. Still is an administrative assistant at the Brooksville Police Department.

Drinkard was first arrested in March. Later, authorities said, Drinkard sent Still a letter telling her he loved her, a violation of the injunction.

Prior to his first arrest, Drinkard had been suspended after Still reported the incidents to her bosses and they launched an internal affairs investigation. His superiors immediately ordered him to turn in his badge and gun.

On Feb. 28, with his finger on the trigger, Drinkard walked into the Police Department lobby and placed his loaded .45-caliber Glock on the counter, security video showed. Normally, Still sits in the receptionist's chair behind a sheet of glass, on the other side of the counter where Drinkard left his gun. At that moment, she wasn't there.

The former patrolman, authorities said, later acknowledged that he was so drunk he couldn't remember dropping off the firearm.

It sat, unnoticed and unsecured, for more than four minutes.

The day after the incident, Chief George Turner terminated Drinkard for what he called "gross negligence." The officer had worked for the department since 2007.

Drinkard was adjudicated guilty on the misdemeanor charges of stalking, trespassing and violating the injunction. Adjudication was withheld on a felony grand theft charge.

The conviction is Drinkard's first.

As part of his plea agreement, Drinkard must undergo a mental health evaluation and enroll in an outpatient alcohol treatment program. He also owes Still $1,490 in restitution.

McCathran consulted with Still before reaching the deal.

"She was fine with it," McCathran said. "She mainly just wants the guy to leave her alone."

The deal is comparable to what any other defendant would have received, McCathran said.

Drinkard's attorney, Derek Saltsman, disagreed.

As part of an initial plea offer, Saltsman said, prosecutors wanted Drinkard adjudicated guilty on the theft charge, which would have made him a convicted felon.

Even the final plea agreement is harsh for someone without a prior record, Saltsman said. A fairer deal, he said, would have been to acknowledge Drinkard's alcohol problem and offer a pretrial intervention agreement. Such an agreement would have resulted in the dismissal of the charges had Drinkard followed certain stipulations, such as enrolling in a substance abuse program.

"The problem I had all along with this case is he wasn't treated like any other defendant that got arrested," Saltsman said. "Because of him working in law enforcement and it was a hot news story, he was treated as if he had a large prior record."

Drinkard was a heartbroken alcoholic who probably made unwise choices, but he has never harbored ill will toward Still, Saltsman said.

"(Alcoholism) destroyed his career and his reputation," Saltsman said. "It's not an excuse for it, but it came down to that problem.

Drinkard has moved out of the area and is looking for a job so he can pay the restitution, plus fines and court costs that will exceed $1,800, Saltsman said.

Drinkard had a history of problems at other agencies. In 2003, he resigned from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office while being investigated for violating agency policy.

Tony Marrero can be reached at or (352) 848-1431.

Former Brooksville police officer takes plea deal 07/26/12 [Last modified: Thursday, July 26, 2012 7:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. GOP's new repeal bill would likely leave millions more uninsured, analyses suggest


    WASHINGTON — The latest Republican bid to roll back the Affordable Care Act would likely leave millions of currently insured Americans without health coverage in the coming decades, and strip benefits and protections from millions more, a growing number of independent studies suggest.

    Vice President Mike Pence listens as President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. [Evan Vucci | Associated Press]
  2. Mueller casts broad net in requesting extensive records from Trump White House


    WASHINGTON — The special counsel investigating Russian election meddling has requested extensive records and email correspondence from the White House, covering the president's private discussions about firing his FBI director and his response to news that the then-national security adviser was under …

    In a photograph provided by the Russian foreign ministry, President Donald Trump meets with Sergei Lavrov, left, the Russian foreign minister, and Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, May 10, 2017. Special counsel Robert Mueller is interested in this meeting, where Trump said dismissing FBI Director James Comey had relieved "great pressure" on him, the New York Times reported on Sept. 20. [Russian Foreign Ministry via  New York Times]
  3. 'We will find our island destroyed': Hurricane Maria demolishes Puerto Rico


    SAN JUAN — Sleepless Puerto Ricans awoke Wednesday knowing to expect a thrashing from the most ferocious storm to strike the island in at least 85 years. They met nightfall confronting the ruin Hurricane Maria left behind: engorged rivers, blown-out windows, sheared roofs, toppled trees and an obliterated electric …

    Rescue vehicles from the Emergency Management Agency stand trapped under an awning during the impact of Hurricane Maria, after the storm  hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Maria has lost its major hurricane status, after raking Puerto Rico. But forecasters say some strengthening is in the forecast and Maria could again become a major hurricane by Thursday. [Carlos Giusti | Associated Press]
  4. Obamacare repeal bill offers flexibility and uncertainty


    The latest Republican proposal to undo the Affordable Care Act would grant states much greater flexibility and all but guarantee much greater uncertainty for tens of millions of people.

  5. Manafort offered to give Russian billionaire 'private briefings' on 2016 campaign, report says


    Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, the Washington Post reports.

    Paul Manafort, then Donald Trump's campaign chairman, talks to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. [Associated Press]