Documents: Alcohol use cost Champaign police officer his job

Documents: Alcohol use cost Champaign police officer his job

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CHAMPAIGN — A Champaign police officer charged this month in a string of burglaries in Fisher had alcohol in his system while on the job, including at a firearms training event last fall, which ultimately cost him his job, according to police department documents.

Documents released Wednesday show Justus Clinton, 43, of Fisher, who had been with the department for about 14.5 years, was serving as an instructor at the Sept. 30 training event and was observed displaying erratic behavior and having an odor of alcohol. He was placed on administrative leave as a result of that incident and ultimately received a one-month suspension without pay.

He entered into a last-chance agreement with the department on Feb. 12, which included getting rehab treatment, abstaining from all alcohol and drug use and submitting to random alcohol and drug tests. The agreement was going to be in place for seven years, but Clinton had to abstain from alcohol or drugs for the duration of his career with the police department.

Clinton returned to patrol duties on Feb. 20. When he reported for duty March 13, a front-desk employee could smell alcohol on him and noticed that his eyes were bloodshot or glassy. He was immediately placed on investigative leave and his police powers were suspended.

On April 13, Clinton was placed on unpaid administrative leave, and on May 8, he entered into a separation agreement with the city.

Last week, Clinton waived his right to a preliminary hearing and pleaded not guilty to three counts of burglary to motor vehicles. Judge John Kennedy set his bond at $10,000 and told him to be back in court July 3 for a pretrial hearing.

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