An off-duty Brownwood patrol officer was arrested Wednesday night on a DWI charge following a traffic stop by a Department of Public Safety trooper in Brownwood.
Patrolman Danny Hutchins, 40, of Bangs, spent the night in the Brown County Jail and was released Thursday morning on $2,500 bond, Brown County Jail records state.
Brownwood Police Chief Mike Corley said Hutchins, who has been with the department since October 2001, will be placed on paid leave pending the outcome of the case and an internal investigation.
The charge is a Class B misdemeanor. State standards on law enforcement state that an officer convicted of any charge higher than a Class C misdemeanor cannot have a peace officer license for 10 years, Corley said.
A deferred adjudication probation, while not a conviction, would be treated as a conviction by state standards, Corley said.
Independent of the criminal case, the department will also begin an internal investigation, Corley said.
"The mission here is not to fire Danny Hutchins," Corley said. "The mission is to investigate the allegation and be fair during our investigation, and then determine what disciplinary action is appropriate.
"We have to keep in mind, he's not been found guilty. We'll make sure he gets his due process. On the other hand, he's going to be held accountable to our code of conduct, too."
According to Sams' arrest affidavit:
Sams topped a vehicle for speeding at 11 p.m. and failing to drive in a single lane on U.S. Highway 67 in Brownwood city limits. After Sams conducted a field sobriety test on the driver, identified as Hutchins, he placed Hutchins under arrest.
Hutchins was taken to Brownwood Regional Medical Center for a blood draw and was then booked into the Brown County Jail.
Corley said he is "disappointed, for sure" and said Hutchins "has been a great asset to the department.
"I respect the DPS. They did the right thing," Corley said. "I commend them, actually. They didn't give him any special treatment and I don't expect them to do that."