Georgia State police chief resigns following 2nd DUI arrest

Joseph Spillane was arrested Nov. 27 on a count of driving under the influence in Fayette County.

Credit: Fayette County Sheriff's Office

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Joseph Spillane was arrested Nov. 27 on a count of driving under the influence in Fayette County.

Credit: Fayette County Sheriff's Office

The chief of Georgia State University’s police department has resigned after being arrested on DUI charges for the second time during his tenure, officials said.

Joe Spillane resigned last week, a Georgia State spokeswoman confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Assistant Chief Anthony Coleman was named interim police chief, she said.

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Spillane was arrested after a traffic stop in Peachtree City on Nov. 25, according to a police incident report obtained by the AJC. A police officer pulled over Spillane’s Toyota 4Runner on Ga. 54 near Stevens Entry about 11:30 p.m., the report said.

“After investigation, the driver was found to be driving under the influence of alcohol,” the report said.

Spillane was charged with one count each of driving under the influence and failure to maintain lane, the incident report said. He was taken to the Fayette County Jail the night of the incident, but “due to his highly intoxicated state, the jail would not accept him,” according to the report.

He was booked into the Fayette jail Nov. 27 and released on bond the same day, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman confirmed.

The resignation comes three years after the university placed Spillane on unpaid administrative leave for another DUI arrest. Spillane was pulled over along Ga. 85 in Fayetteville on June 18, 2017, and arrested on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, open container and failure to maintain lane, the AJC previously reported.

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In that incident, Spillane told Fayetteville officers he’d just come from a tavern and had two beers. He insisted he wasn’t intoxicated, according to body camera footage of the arrest obtained by Channel 2 Action News. A woman identified as Spillane’s wife was heard in the background begging the police chief not to take a field sobriety exam, which ended with Spillane’s arrest.

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Georgia State conducted an investigation following the incident and later informed Spillane that he could return to the university. He reassumed his position after a 20-day suspension, the AJC previously reported.

“My expectation is that you will uphold the responsibility of your position and that any future incident or action reflecting negatively on your position or the university could result in your dismissal,” Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Jerry Rackliffe wrote days after the 2017 arrest.

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