A school resource deputy with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office resigned last month after allegedly showing up drunk to an Explorers’ event on May 11.
The Sheriff’s Explorers is a group for youth age 14 to 19 who conduct programs and projects featuring safety, training and service. They have opportunities to learn about the requirements of law enforcement careers and gain firsthand work experiences, participating in “worthwhile, challenging, and exciting projects and programs essential to the learning of law enforcement activities,” according to the agency’s website.
Deputy First Class Joshua Muse, a school resource deputy assigned to Liberty Elementary, was working the event at the St. Vincent DePaul Center on May 11, where explorers assisted with packing canned food for the post office. Around 1 p.m., dispatchers and a corporal in the Marine Unit reportedly noticed he sounded intoxicated over the radio.
Cpl. Brad Stender, of the Marine Unit, later told an internal affairs investigator he thought someone had a deputy’s radio and was “goofing off.” When dispatch asked Muse to repeat the transmission, his speech again was “slurred and thick tongued,” the internal affairs investigation stated.
Stender asked dispatchers what unit was on the radio, joking the person sounded “drunk.” A dispatcher said it was Muse and there was a previous history of that nature. Stender then contacted the Watch Commander.
Lt. Karl Steele and Acting Sgt. Jacob Hawkins were contacted and made contact with Muse in person. According to the investigation, he showed physical signs of intoxication and smelled like alcohol.
Muse was wearing a CCSO T-shirt, tactical pants, and had his agency-issued handgun, holster, radio and badge at his waist.
Steele and Hawkins asked Muse if he had been drinking or was on any medication that would affect his abilities. He initially stated he takes approximately eight different pills for a medical condition, but later, he admitted he and his wife were up until 5 or 6 a.m. celebrating their anniversary.
Muse’s firearm and vehicle keys were secured, and he was transported to the Charlotte County Jail to have a breathalyzer administered. He voluntarily submitted to the breathalyzer test, which provided a .230 and .246 reading, according to the investigation, placing his BAC approximately three times over the legal limit for driving a motor vehicle.
Muse was not charged with a DUI. The investigation noted he did not transport any of the explorers to or from the event, but whether he drove himself there is not addressed.
According to Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Katie Heck, “There was no actual evidence to support he was driving (although it could be assumed), or evidence to support he was intoxicated when he could have been driving, therefore there were no grounds to criminally charge him.”
Muse was relieved from duty and had family give him a ride home.
On May 13, Muse was placed on administrative leave with pay and was notified he was being investigated by the Internal Affairs Unit for reporting for duty while intoxicated. The same day, he contacted human resources and submitted his resignation.
Heck said had he not resigned, the recommended disposition of the case would have been withdrawal of appointment. Although the dispatcher mentioned a prior history involving alcohol, Heck said there were no previous internal affairs investigations related to alcohol.
Muse could not be reached for comment Thursday.