Sunday, February 25, 2018
Public safety

St. Petersburg police officer who saved his job after a 2009 DUI arrest faces that same charge again

MADEIRA BEACH — A St. Petersburg police officer who swore off alcohol for five years to save his job after a 2009 DUI arrest now finds himself in the same exact trouble once again.

Officer Anthony M. Green, 36, was found asleep behind the wheel of his personal car, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. It was found stopped in the southbound lane of Gulf Boulevard near Madeira Way just before 11 p.m. Monday.

Green was arrested for DUI and booked into the Pinellas County jail at 3:33 a.m. Tuesday.

Later that day, St. Petersburg police Chief Anthony Holloway held a news conference to discuss the officer's arrest. He said Green was suspended without pay.

The officer's criminal case will have to go through the legal system and the St. Petersburg Police Department will conduct an internal investigation, Holloway said, before he decides whether Green should be fired. But the legal system could make that decision for the chief.

If Green is convicted, Holloway said: "I can tell you he's not going to be here."

In 2009, Green was arrested after police said he left a party, drove into two cars on Fourth Street N in St. Petersburg and kept going. He was found sitting in his damaged car outside his home.

Green was sentenced to a year probation and kept his job on the police force after agreeing to serve a six-week suspension without pay, and to stay away from alcoholic beverages for five years.

At the time, former St. Petersburg police chief Chuck Harmon said it was the most severe punishment — short of termination — that he handed out in nine years as chief.

Green also agreed to "no violations of alcohol or criminal activity," according to his personnel file. The fact that the officer violated the deal that saved his job was not lost on the current police chief.

"He was out there drinking again," Holloway said, "and we're not going to tolerate it again."

In the 2016 arrest report, a Pinellas sheriff's deputy wrote that Green's eyes appeared "glossy" and his balance unsteady. He refused to submit to a field sobriety test or a Breathalyzer test to measure his blood alcohol-level. Drivers who refused that test automatically lose their driving privileges for a year, Holloway said.

Green was freed from the county jail Tuesday evening after posting $500 bail. A superior went to his home and took his department-issues weapon and vehicle.

In 2009, Green was suspended with pay after his arrest. But under a new policy Holloway announced Monday, any officer who is arrested cannot collect a paycheck while their case goes through the court system.

"He's not going to sit at home and collect his salary," the chief said.

Contact Sara DiNatale at [email protected] Follow @sara_dinatale.

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