Fayette County

GSU police chief arrested on DUI charges

FAYETTE COUNTY, Ga. — The Georgia State University police chief is facing several charges, including DUI, after a traffic stop in Fayette County.

Channel 2’s Liz Artz got her hands on the body-camera video, which shows Chief Joseph Spillane taking a field sobriety test after he was pulled over on Highway 85 South in Fayetteville last weekend.

“I’m coming from the tavern,” Spillane tells the officer in the video.

Within seconds, Spillane lets the officer know he is in law enforcement.

“I’m cool. I'm safe to drive,” Spillane said. “I’m a chief of police.”

During the traffic stop, Spillane told the arresting officer several times that he has been policing for more than 30 years.

At one point, Spillane asks the arresting officer how long he has been a police officer.

“A couple years,” the officer says.

Spillane repeatedly tells the officer he is cool, he's not drunk and he's OK to drive.

The Fayetteville officer still makes Spillane take a field sobriety test, asking the chief to walk heel-to-toe for nine steps.

His wife pleaded with him not to take the test.

“Stop it, Joe,” she said.

“They’ll put me in jail if I don’t take it,” he replied.


The chief is then required to hold his leg in the air while counting.

Spillane tells the officer again how long he has been policing.

“I’ve been policing 30 years and I’ve never had to do this,” he said.

The Fayetteville police officer asked Spillane again how much he had had to drink.

“I have had two beers. Two beers, honest to goodness. I feel good,” Spillane said.

Channel 2’s Liz Artz sat down with Spillane on Monday afternoon.

He said he is still stunned that he failed the test, but he also said he is embarrassed and sorry that he's putting his family and the university through the public scrutiny.

“I'm still very surprised he felt I failed the field sobriety test. I’m just stunned,” he said.

He told Artz he looks forward to his day in court.

“I’d like to try it out in court and not the court of public opinion out here,” he said.

The chief went on to say he has a lot of good things going on right now at GSU and he hopes this doesn't affect the good work he is doing there.

The university released a statement saying, “The university takes this matter very seriously. We understand the severity of the offense, especially when it is committed by a law enforcement officer. The police chief has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a university investigation."

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