Tennessee DUI Suspect Flashes Sheriff's Badge

We’ve all hoped for a little edge that might get us out of a ticket after a police traffic stop. Maybe a sticker citing support for a police benevolent group or a certain bumper sticker. How about a sheriff’s badge?

James A. Cline of Collierville, Tennessee was stopped for suspicion of DUI when police discovered a Fayette County sheriff’s badge on the dashboard. The problem is that Cline is not a sheriff or even a deputy. According to the police report he told the officers that the badge and accompanying identification card were gifts from the Fayette County Sheriff to help "get out of tickets."

"That’s not exactly the way I said it," Cline said later.

The original owner of the badge, Sheriff Bill Kelley admitted that he gave Cline the badge as a "complimentary-type thing." Possessing the badge does not entitle the bearer to arrest anyone or to carry a handgun. When asked if the badge provided Cline with a way of avoiding traffic tickets, Kelley said, "that was never said to him by anybody

Cline was stopped just after midnight last Saturday for suspicion of DUI after crossing the centerline twice. A strong presence of alcohol was detected and Cline had difficulty maintaining his balance. He was charged with driving under the influence(DUI), having an open container and refusing to take a breath test, as well as weapons charges.

There appears to be an unwritten code for a law enforcement officer not to ticket another officer or a friend of the sheriff for a minor traffic offense. The issue of honorary badges has been a hot topic across the State of Tennessee after it was reported that Tennessee Highway Patrol officers routinely provided badges to the politically
connected and to friends.

Cline said the badge "just happened to be on the dash."

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