Bryan Drinkard has had what can charitably be called a checkered career in law enforcement. Or as hernandotoday.com delicately puts it, he’s suffered “frequent lapses in discipline.” As a result, he’s moved around a bit in his twenty-some years protecting and serving the people of Florida. For instance, during nine years with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, he was the subject of 44 – yes 44 – internal affairs investigations. For the the numerically challenged, that’s an average of one investigation launched every 75 days. Kinda makes you wonder how he made it nine years, no?
Officer Drinkard was ultimately forced to retire from the Manatee County job because of a stalking charge for which he was ultimately acquitted. That’s when he landed with the Brooksville PD. That gig went well for a while, but then the problematic policeman reverted to form. Like when he made a call to his former employer’s dispatcher from a bar just to settle a bet. It seems it’s hard for a leopard to change his stripes. Or something.
Drinkard earned consecutive merit bonuses and was promoted in March 2008 to detective, according to his personnel file.
During the last nine months of his employment at Brooksville, he was disciplined three times and was transferred from criminal investigations back to patrol, which came with a reduced salary.
On Monday yet another internal affairs investigation – something with which Drinkard should be very familiar by now – was opened against the officer in Brooksville and he was suspended. Brooksville Chief George Turner won’t say what was being investigated, but Drinkard was notified that he needed to turn in his duty pistol. And turn it in, he did.
On Tuesday, he entered the Brooksville Police Station and laid it down near the administrative assistant’s workstation.
The problem was that the .45-caliber Glock, which was loaded with 14 hollow-point rounds, was carelessly placed in an empty lobby, Police Chief George Turner said.
Glock pistols don’t have safety mechanisms. To use firing-range slang, the weapon was hot.
Drinkard walked out and the gun lay there for a few minutes until an employee came in and noticed it, Turner said.
And that was the last straw for Chief Turner. Drinkard tried to resign, but he resignation letter was rejected by the Chief who fired him the next day.
“This constitutes gross negligence on your part that placed the general public and other department members at great risk of possible injury, accident or otherwise,” Turner wrote in his termination letter.
Judging from his body of work, it doesn’t seem that Bryan Drinkard was cut out for a career as a police officer. He is, however, unquestionably qualified for Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day honors. A commendation he’ll no doubt point to with pride when he applies for that next law enforcement job.