The mayor of a tiny Georgia town was charged with impersonating an officer after he was stopped by sheriff's deputies while driving a marked police car — something he does routinely — the sheriff said Tuesday.
John Dopson, mayor of Jacksonville, population 140, was driving a Jacksonville police cruiser when he was pulled over Monday by Telfair County deputies, the sheriff's office said in a statement.
Dopson declined to take blood and urine tests, "indicating the reason for his refusal was because he knew it would show positive for 'weed,'" according to the statement.
In addition to the impersonation charge, he was charged with driving under the influence of drugs.
The sheriff's office said it had been investigating the mayor for some time "in response to numerous complaints related to the daily personal use of a marked and equipped City of Jacksonville patrol car by an individual who possesses no law enforcement authority."
Dopson "can be observed daily operating a marked and equipped Jacksonville GA patrol car," the sheriff's office said, often "with its blue lights activated."
"Although flattered by Dopson's obvious fascination of real law enforcement officers and the services we provide related to public safety, we cannot allow this type of illegal and very dangerous activity to continue," the sheriff's office said.
"Citizens should have confidence a marked police cruiser will be operated by a legitimate law enforcement officer and not just someone with access to a police car, living out some childhood fantasy."
Dopson was appointed mayor late last year even though he has been awaiting trial since last March on a felony aggravated assault charge, according to state court records. The Associated Press reported that Dopson was accused of pointing a gun at another man in an incident that was recorded on video.
Dopson's attorney of record in the assault case couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday night.