PTC firefighter charged with DUI

Peachtree City firefighter/EMT Kevin Bernard McMullen was charged with DUI alcohol on the morning of Jan. 11. Fire department supervisors at McMullen’s place of work at Fire Station #81 at Paschall Road and Ga. Highway 74 initiated the process that led to the administration of sobriety tests by Peachtree City Police officers after performing a “mouth swab” at the fire station where McMullen had reported for duty. Subsequent testing showed the 32 year-old Fayetteville resident with a blood alcohol level of .135.

According to a supplemental incident report, Peachtree City Police received a 911 dispatch call on Jan. 11 at 9:05 a.m. The officer contacted Assistant Fire Chief Joseph O’Conor and was told that one of his employees came to work with alcohol on his breath and he wanted to have a definitive test administered.

A supplemental incident report noted that officers spoke with fire department supervisors and determined that, while at the Paschall Road fire station a supervisor had administered a “mouth swab” on McMullen and found it to test positive for alcohol. The supervisor then drove McMullen to Piedmont Fayette Hospital to have blood drawn but, once there, learned that “the hospital could not draw the blood due to not having a form.”

McMullen was then driven to the police department by a supervisor, the report said.

Once at the police station an officer noted in the report that he could smell a “very strong odor consistent of an alcoholic beverage coming from Mr. McMullen.”

When asked if he had driven to work that morning, McMullen said that he had, adding that he had started his shift at 8 a.m. and that he had not had any alcoholic beverage since the prior night while watching a football game.

Officers administered several sobriety tests, with the results showing a blood alcohol level .135 and .136. The legal limit in Georgia is .08.

Just prior to the administration of an additional sobriety test, one that is voluntary, McMullen said he would agree to the test and that he “wanted to prove he was innocent,” the report said.

With the results of that test coming in at .136, the officer asked McMullen about the alcohol he had consumed. McMullen said he had consumed 10 glasses of wine at around 8 p.m., adding the he had consumed no alcohol that morning or since reporting to work, the report said. McMullen also told officers he drove his vehicle from his home in Fayetteville to work at the Paschall Road fire station earlier that morning, reports said.

McMullen was subsequently charged with DUI and transported to the Fayette County Jail.

City attorney Ted Meeker on Wedneday said any action taken or to be taken regarding the incident will be available 10 days after the action.

McMullen was one of the Recruit Class graduates in 2007 and, in January 2008, was named Peachtree City Fire Department’s Rookie of the Year.

DarkMadam
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It"s news.... Thats all I am saying

Well, maybe not all. Would you want any first responder to show up to rescue you or someone you love from a fire or car accident or God forbid any other kind of an emergency under the influence? I would not.
Please let me personally apologize for offending you, the self appointed spelling police. Congratulations on the third grader.

DarkMadam
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If it is a question.

It had already been confirmed by WSB before I ever asked the question. Deleting the post is one thing but blocking is a whole other issue. I thought that was freedom of speach as long as it was not a personal threat or something to that effect. Who knew a news paper whos survival is based on that amendment right would do that? Go figure!

kfhintx
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Maybe...just maybe

They blocked you because my 3rd grader can spell better than you. Maybe they blocked you because you're sticking your nose where it doesn't belong. Why is this story so interesting that you feel it necessary to contact the media and be the big "tipster"? Leave this war veteran and his family alone and let the PTCFD deal with it as they see fit.

rmoc
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he must have been drinking into the wee hours

I have no sympathy, you only work every third day and can't stop right before your shift? He had to be drinking until 3 or 4 am to register that high and if it was earlier he was lucky he didn't die of alcohol poisoning.

..and I don't blame Cal for censoring posts until this was confirmed..

Mike King
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Where's The Supervision?

This entire episode is sad

There is very likely an addiction issue here and although the Fire Department did the right thing, my question would be how long had this been going on? Do we as citizens know for sure that this was a first time occurence, or was it merely the straw that broke the camel's back?

To be that intoxicated that early required substantial alcohol intake over the previous weekend and not 'ten glasses of wine' during football. Couple that with the 'rules' in place concerning PTC's closed door regulations dealing with personnel issues, and you have an environment that could mask this type behavior for some time.

Will the public ever know for sure?

normal
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No Mr King no one knows for sure

I would do a monthly pee in the glass test for all Fire fighters and police. I guarantee you we have alcohol and dope problems. Nothing like a few beers and a little weed. This should be done for the county as well as the city departments. Better safe than sorry.

Mike King
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Normal

I agree, except that there are likely those in the city that do know of such and remain silent.

common tater
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so you're for more govt. regulation?

Police and fire already must submit to random drug and alcohol screenings and if a higher up suspects abuse they can ask that employee to go do a test....how much more do we need?

roundabout
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M. KING

"remain silent," of course they do.
We were both in the military--the holy grail of remaining silent!
Second place goes to general government workers. Third, school government workers.
Then of course there is banks madison avenue, and wall street who rate so high above first place I don't know what to call it.

Religious Zealots are fourth!

DarkMadam
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Does any one know....

If this is this firefighters 1st arrest for DUI? I have heard rumors but am not sure of the real deal.

PTC Avenger
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And this is your business

And this is your business how?

DarkMadam
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Just curious

However, shouldn't it be everyone's business if one of the first responders in the city you live in drives a Fire Truck and has ever had an imparment arrest while driving? I would like to think that it never happens, but the only way to find out is just to ask. Nothing personal, I was just curious.

Evil Elvis
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Pre employment screening

His driving record (MVR) would have been examined by the department prior to hiring. While I don't know their policies, a DUI on his MVR should have disqualified him for employment.

That being said, whether or not he had one previously should not be our concern unless the department either does not have procedures in place to prevent such hires or did not follow existing procedures.

DarkMadam
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On the subject of policies...

But, if a firefighter or police officer received a DUI while employed but not on the clock, should that impact their job? I honestly don't know if they pull MVR's after someone has been employed. It seems to me that would be as good an idea as random drug testing. Who knows, there may already be a policy in place, if not, maybe there should be.

NUK_1
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Policies/MVR/Drug/Alcohol

In PTC, all are done pre-employment, though a while back they had a couple slide through the cracks and start working only to be told later "uh, no." That was a decade or more ago, so no worries.

After that, there is the threat of random testing as well as probable cause testing at anytime necessary, especially if you drive any vehicle owned by the City and are involved in any accident or are observed in a condition that warrants it.

In this case, you have to really tip your hat to the PTC FD and PD on how they handled this situation. In a lot of other places, there would have been "don't snitch" or "don't tell on your own" and that didn't happen at all here. Very professionally handled.

As far as MVR's go, they pull them after employment too. It keeps the liability insurance premiums down, just like the pre-employment drug-screening does, which was the overriding factor in the big push years ago to start drug-testing everyone.

Evil Elvis
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MVRs

It isn't just for insurance purposes, but a requirement for commercial license holders under DOT regulations. In Georgia, MVRs must be updated annually and kept in a qualification file.

And I agree that credit goes to the firemen for their reasonable suspicion.

DarkMadam
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great answer Nuk but..

I have one more question. This is directed at both Dekalb and PTC firefighters. Will this impact their firefighter and EMC credentials? Will the just be able to go to another city or county with their training and certifications and get another job as a fierfighter/EMC?

NUK_1
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DarkMadam: No

Almost all Public Safety jobs involve having a current and clean of anything besides minor traffic citations MVR at the time of employment because they all have to drive govt vehicles, and the punishment for DUI in GA usually involves license suspension as well as being a big red flag on your MVR.

GA actually has tough DUI laws and sentencing these days after years ago of being really lax. It's not easy at all to get away without having your license suspended for 6-12months on the first offense and the old stand-by of pleading "no-lo" is gone. Someone gets to pay a LOT in extra insurance premiums and also being shut-out of employment because of the DUI on their record which doesn't disappear any more or get plead down to "reckless driving," which everyone caught on to and decided that "reckless driving" = "DUI."

Besides greatly increased insurance costs over the lifetime, the threat of non-employment is even more costly for people that take that gamble.

moelarrycurly
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CBS Atlanta broadcasting

live in PTC/Tyrone on this story. They are going to have at least one other report on their 5pm and/or 6pm broadcast and the report will be available on the web after 6:30pm, according to their newsroom.

normal
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Send them to Dekalb

Its a bigger story at their fire shop

moelarrycurly
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They are doing

both stories, I think.

normal
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Lets see now. 10 glasses at 8pm

Must have been some really big glasses to still register that high on the good old dui scale almost 14 hours later. I would say the boy needs help. Professional help. Get him into treatment which he has insurance for and move on. He may just be in denial. May be a chemically dependent person. So lets fix the problem, he can keep his job, seeing as he must do a pretty darn good job if he was rookie of the year. Plus it costs way to much to train a new one. Good luck to you Kevin, you know what to do

Evil Elvis
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Treatment

Treatment probably will not be an option as he appears to have been caught under some form of peer reasonable suspicion, rather than coming forward and asking for help.

Had he exited the building the moment somebody expressed concern and driven directly to a treatment facility, he MAY have been able to play that card. As they called 911 and he was arrested on the job, termination appears to be the direction this will go.

crazy squirrel
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well

...maybe not *driven* directly etc, given his BAC

ilockemup
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Good work by PTC Public Safety

Both the fire department and the PD in PTC deserve credit. They saw a problem with one of their own and did the right thing.

Many departments just cover up for the wrong doing of their employees. Many chiefs would have just kept the guy off the road (or worse).

Good work.

Hey
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Blocked from commenting

It may be odd but it happens to me everytime I log on. The first login tells me that I'm not authorized to post but the second or third try works.

DarkMadam
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something odd is going on here!

sorry....Multi post

DarkMadam
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something odd is going on here!

wow...sorry again...still a multi post

DarkMadam
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something odd is going on here!

On Monday January 17th I sent in a news tip to the Citizen about this. I also posted under the "free speach" area of this website asking if anyone had heard about this, and found that the next day I was BLOCKED from this website. I sent a letter to the web master and received a respose but did did not pertain to this. When I called today she said that the only one that could block me from this site was Cal Beverly and she would contact him in regards to me being blocked. Now with no response from him I can post again and suddenly the story appears. How odd is this? I questioned in my newstip if this was the former City Managers son. Suddenly I feel a bit censored. Has this ever happen to anyone else?

crazy squirrel
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and now they're making everyone read your comments thrice

...weird!

DarkMadam
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No Crazy Squirrel....

The three posts were completely my fault. I have not posted much since the site changed and I am still learning when to NOT hit the enter button. LOL

roundabout
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Blocked

It appears that the Citizen can block a commenter for nearly anything they please, at least that is how I read the rules published on the bottom of the page. As to who tells Cal about things, I don't know.

It is either that or this forum will be canceled entirely and leave only all those right wing columnists and religious commentators.

So, I appreciate it still being here for most anyway.

NUK_1
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PTC Firefighter DUI=Bernie's son

Sort of surprised how this article never mentions that this is ex-City Mgr's Bernie McMullen's son and how some thought he never should have been hired in the first place since it seemingly violated the City's nepotism policy.

Like I posted under the link with the Fayette County Arrest report earlier here...the sins of the father passed on to the son, but he won't get to slide on this like good 'ol Dad/Bernie did, nor will the city have to overhaul their procedures to accommodate him like they had to do with Daddy.

Of course, Bernie had the big advantage of being bailed-out of jail after his complete stupidity by one of his own councilmembers, i.e. one of his bosses and also a lawyer. Nice.

skyspy
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The Apple Doesn't Fall Far from the Tree

What a sad family legacy.

It is sad for PTC that we have allowed this to happen.

The local news stations are having a lot of fun with PTC dirty laundry.

roundabout
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skyspy

Can't always judge a Father or Mother for a son!

I will however bet that he will be able to get a job as a firefighter somewhere else!
It is a rare thing when public employees black ball their own.

Unlikely he will be charged with a felony. Probably shouldn't be either if first offense.

normal
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Your right roundabout

A fairburn firefighter was fired a year ago for a DUI. He got hired within a few months by douglasville fire dept. Then fairburn called and tried to hire him back. He stayed in douglasville. So he will be able to get another job, lets hope he learned a good life lesson. Stop doing drugs.

factmaster
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Get your Facts Straight

One of his own council members did not bail him out. A normal Joe did. Not a member of any government agency in Peachtree City or any other city. So continue to sit so piously behind a clown face and remember this is a good family you are so egregiously talking about. Why not send some prayers their way instead of judgement. You have never made any mistakes. Never tied a few off the night before and driven to work the next day. You are just an example of perfection. Yeah Right!

NUK_1
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Thanks "factmaster!"

"You are just an example of perfection"

My new #1 fan, hurray!

lexveritas
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Like father.....

....like son, I'd say. You are right - his hiring flouted established policy, and he was certainly "safe" when the old man laid of dozens of lesser-paid workers not long ago. Must be nice to have that kind of protection. And of course we know how pop got away with this in broad daylight....as he did with so many other underhanded things. Best money says Junior will skate on this one, once again making the City look ridiculous and hypocritical.
Bernie dumped on a whole lot of people for far less than this transgression. Anybody else would have been fired on the spot.
Is it ANY wonder why the public distrusts the "government" to the extent that it already does?

rmoc
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zero tolerance

I understand the young man was terminated immediately, so there will be no protection. I also heard that this firefighter "knew his stuff" and wasn't just hired on pa's dime. It is a shame that his personal problems interfered with his professional career.

Evil Elvis
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Potential Disparate Treatment Problems

The department would do well to play this one according to policy, as any future violators will expect to receive the same as McMullen fils.

If McMullen fils "skates", all violators who follow will to, otherwise HERE BE LAWSUITS.

moelarrycurly
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10 glasses of wine

while watching football?

Clydesdales everywhere are saying "naaaayy....naaayyyy, Kevin".

PTC better have a "no tolerance policy" for DUI amongst our first responders. On a day when the roads were snow and ice covered, too? An impaired EMT making life or death decisions on our ambulances? Nooo wayyyy, not in my city. Especially in the case of this individual. I'll be watching this one real closely.

jeep2
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10 Glasses of Wine

Quote:"PTC better have a "no tolerance policy" for DUI amongst our first responders."

Read, or re-read, the above article. It is very clear that there is a "no tolerance policy" for such actions in this city. From the supervisor who observed and reported it up to the Assistant Chief and on to the Police Department with a final stop at the county jail I see no evidence of leniency or tolerance here. Thank you to the fire department personnel and to the police department for the work you did in preventing anything terrible that might have occurred had this gone unnoticed.

moelarrycurly
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read and re-read

my comment. I'm not talking about the actions of the FD or PD administration. They did as they should have done. They are professionals and would never overlook what was needed and still needs to be done.

I want to know that there are no "warnings" or "second chances" given due to a loophole or a poorly written policy for an incident as serious as this. Stranger things have happened, as we all know.