JACKSONVILLE, Ga. (AP) – The mayor of a tiny Georgia town has been jailed on criminal charges after sheriff’s deputies pulled him over for driving a city police cruiser. John Dopson is the mayor of Jacksonville, Georgia, a town of about 140 residents located 90 miles southeast of Macon. Dopson was being held Tuesday at the Telfair County jail on charges of impersonating an officer and driving under the influence.
Sheriff Chris Steverson said Dopson was arrested Monday after residents complained they often saw him driving one of the city’s two police cars as if it was his personal vehicle. “When it got to the point we were getting complaints that he was activating the blue lights on the car, then we became more concerned, especially if he was trying to stop or control traffic,” Steverson said. “There was a lady who said he initiated a traffic stop on her because he wanted to talk to her.”
Dopson was also charged with driving under the influence after he declined to submit for a blood and urine test following his arrest, the sheriff said. “He refused those tests, indicating to the officers that he didn’t want to take it because he had ‘weed’ in his system,” Steverson said. “That’s what he called it.”
A woman who answered the phone at Jacksonville City Hall on Tuesday said city officials had no comment on the mayor’s arrest, but she identified Dopson’s attorney as David Venable. He did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment. The sheriff said Dopson had been appointed Jacksonville’s mayor by its city council last year. His arrest for driving a police car isn’t his first bout with legal trouble.
Dopson was charged last March with aggravated assault after he was accused of pointing a gun at another man in an incident that was recorded on video, Steverson said. He said Dopson was still free on bond in the assault case when he was charged for impersonating an officer.