COLUMBIA, SC — A Columbia Police officer has been arrested on a drunken driving charge after he wrecked his patrol car while on duty Friday morning.
Harold Julius Caldwell, 55, was suspended without pay Friday and is expected to be fired next week, according to a press release from the police department.
Caldwell was responding to a call about a family fight at 9 a.m. on Fort Jackson Boulevard, the CPD report said. As he was turning into the Hampton Hill condominiums, he struck a sign and then a wooden and brick fence with his patrol car.
He was not injured but was taken to a hospital where drug and alcohol tests were administered. A private company performed the test, which is protocol for any city employee involved in a car accident while performing city business. The tests determined that he was under the influence of alcohol during the wreck, the police department reported.
Caldwell was booked Friday in the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.
Another officer was called to handle the family fight at the condominiums. No one was injured and no arrests were made in that case, the police department reported.
Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott issued a statement saying, “When a law enforcement officer breaks the law, it is extremely disappointing.
“We are held to a much higher standard in the eyes of our community. I expect more from City of Columbia officers every day. Bad behavior combined with irresponsible decision making will not be tolerated at CPD. If you break the law, you have to suffer the consequences.
“We talk to the public about the dangers of drinking and driving. If we as police officers cannot set the positive example for others to follow, then we have failed completely.”
Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.