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Geary police chief resigns after DUI arrest

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BY MICHAEL BAKER



Oklahoman

  
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GEARY — Slurring a bit and smelling of alcohol, according to an arrest report, Geary Police Chief Melvin Bates flashed his badge to a deputy and asked, “Can you give me a break?”



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Geary police chief resigns after DUI arrest

Monday, Bates surrendered that badge.

Bates has resigned as police chief, Geary Police Department spokesman Terryl Allen confirmed.

Bates had worked at the police department since 2001 and in 2002 became police chief of this community that straddles the border between Blaine and Canadian counties and has just more than 1,200 people.

Bates, 60, was arrested on a complaint of driving under the influence of alcohol about 2 a.m. Friday near the rural intersection of U.S. 270 and Mayberry Road, about five miles east of Geary.

Bates did not return a telephone message left by The Oklahoman.

According to the arrest report written by Canadian County sheriff’s deputy Joseph Grimes, the following happened early Friday:

•Grimes saw a car weaving a little as it went west on U.S. 270. At an S curve, the car swerved over a double yellow line. Grimes pulled the car over.

•Grimes noticed a woman apparently sleeping in the car’s back seat, and an open 30-pack of Natural Light beer next to two emptied and crushed beer cans behind the driver’s seat.

•Grimes identified the driver as Melvin Bates; the woman in the back seat as Bates’ wife, Angelina Bates, 50; and a man in the passenger seat as Leslie Sugar Bates, 37.

•As Grimes spoke to Melvin Bates, the deputy noticed Bates’ bloodshot and watery eyes, his slurred speech and the strong odor of alcohol.

•Bates seemed to have trouble balancing as he walked to Grimes’ patrol car, something the deputy thought could be caused by the loose gravel on the roadway.

•While Grimes was on the radio with dispatch, Bates opened his wallet and showed a gold Geary Police Department badge with the word “Chief” on it. Bates then asked, “Can you give me a break?”

•During the following field sobriety tests, Bates had trouble tracking an object with his eyes; he did not achieve heel-to-toe contact or follow directions during the walk-and-turn portion of the test; and during the one-leg stand test would lose his balance and nearly fall when lifting his leg.

•A relative of Bates came to the scene and drove his car and two passengers home.

•Bates was arrested and taken to the El Reno Police Department, where he registered a blood-alcohol content reading of 0.10 percent on a breath test before being booked into the Canadian County jail on complaints of DUI, transporting an open container of alcohol and driving left of center in a no passing zone.

A blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent is Oklahoma’s legal limit.

It’s not the first time Bates has run into trouble with the law he was sworn to uphold.

Bates was charged in May with writing a $20 bogus check at an El Reno store, according to documents filed in Canadian County District Court.

Bates pleaded guilty in August to the misdemeanor charge in return for a deferred sentence, an agreement to perform community service and payment of restitution and fines.

Bates’ arrest could affect the check case, as Bates was ordered to obey all city, state and federal laws while awaiting sentencing. The formal sentencing on the check case was scheduled for Feb. 22.

Charges have not been filed on the DUI complaint.


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