HARKER HEIGHTS — Officer Joseph Thomas, the Temple Police Department’s community information officer and assistant public information officer, was arrested by Harker Heights Police on New Year’s Eve and was charged with driving while intoxicated.
Thomas was booked into the Bell County Jail at 3:22 a.m. and was released at 4:10 a.m. after paying $1,500 bail for the Class B misdemeanor, Bell County Chief Deputy Chuck Cox said Thursday.
The officer is on paid investigatory leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation, department spokeswoman Shawana Neely said in a news release Thursday.
Thomas could face disciplinary action up to and including indefinite suspension, Neely told the Telegram.
The Harker Heights Police Department case report, sent Thursday by Sgt. Roosevelt Wilson Jr., said that Thomas was stopped at 1:05 a.m. in the 600 block of West Veterans Memorial Boulevard while he drove a Sierra pickup. The report indicated that Thomas is a Harker Heights resident.
The Temple Police Department became aware of Thomas’ arrest after it happened, Neely said. The Professional Standards Unit will conduct the internal investigation. The criminal investigation will be conducted by Harker Heights.
Thomas wasn’t on duty when he was arrested and wasn’t representing the city of Temple in any official capacity at the time of the alleged offense, Neely said.
The Telegram emailed and texted Thomas for comment, but no response was received by press time Thursday.
Thomas was appointed in October to his role as outreach liaison to the community by Temple Police Chief Floyd Mitchell. Thomas’ previous duties included serving as a patrol officer on both day and night shifts and as an investigator.
Thomas was one of three people arrested for drunken driving in Harker Heights from Dec. 28 through Jan. 1, Wilson said Wednesday.
Two additional Temple Police officers have been under internal investigation — one since Sept. 7 in connection with the handling of recovered property and evidence, and the second since Dec. 6 in connection with the officer’s performance.
The first officer was placed on investigatory leave effective Sept. 7, and the investigation was ongoing, Neely said on Dec. 29. The second officer was currently working in an administrative capacity. Neither officer was named.