Manatee deputy resigns after DUI arrest in Tampa

ejohnson@bradenton.comMarch 8, 2013 

MANATEE -- A Manatee County sheriff's corrections deputy turned in his resignation last week after being arrested for driving under the influence in Tampa.

Cecil Jones, 52, resigned Feb. 28 before an internal investigation by the Office of Professional Standards was completed.

Jones was taken into custody Feb. 15 after striking another vehicle, causing about $100 in damage, in the parking lot of The Dallas Bull, 3322 301 Highway N., Tampa. The incident occurred about 11:25 p.m. on Valentine's Day.

According to the arrest report, Jones had red eyes, slurred speech, was unsteady on his feet and smelled of alcohol. After being read his Miranda rights, Jones said he drank two beers prior to the accident. Tests revealed his blood-alcohol content was .121 and .117, the report states.

Jones was released from the Hillsborough County jail on Feb. 14 after posting a $500 bond.

A captain at the Manatee County jail immediately informed the Office of Professional Standards of Jones' arrest, initiating an investigation. Jones was told on Feb. 19 that an investigation was ongoing.

Despite Jones' resignation, the investigation was completed on March 1. An allegation of conduct unbecoming a depu

ty by committing an act that "undermines the public confidence in law enforcement, or creates the appearance of impropriety, or reflects negative on the office of the Sheriff or law enforcement in general" was sustained.

Sheriff Brad Steube issued a memorandum in 2007 after several DUI arrest of sheriff's office employees.

In the memo, Steube writes that "employees of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office are held to a higher standard than the general public." The statement also encourages employees to take advantage of services that offer treatment on "substance addiction related issues that can be utilized in a confidential manner and without fear of reprisal."

The memorandum concluded that if an employee is involved in a DUI-related incident, they could be terminated from the agency.

Elizabeth Johnson, Herald crime reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. Follow her on Twitter @EJohnsonBHcrime.

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