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Officer Terminated For Terrible Decision on Saturday

By Carol A. Gasser Moore

LANIER COUNTY, Georgia – An unidentified Georgia State Patrol (GSP) trooper stopped Lanier County Deputy Kevin Lee on Saturday, after Lee suddenly went off duty while driving a Lanier County Sheriff’s Office vehicle.  The trooper checked and arrested Lee for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) while he was driving in another county.  It has been the understanding of the Lanier County News (LCN) that Lee is or has been held in Brooks County on the DUI charges.

It’s a sad story, but area readers should also be aware that anyone employed in First Responder positions have enough increased pressure, due to the traumatic nature of responding to horrific and risky community behaviors, that there is a higher rate of problem alcohol and drug abuse in those occupations, so these kinds of problems happen.  That’s true nationally; that’s true in the state, and it can certainly be equally true locally.

A quick check of a 2007 survey of 980 American police officers found that 37.6% of the respondents endorsed one or more problem drinking behaviors. The National Institute of Justice says that stress, poor management, lack of funds, inadequate or broken equipment, and excessive overtime, which are well known problems in law enforcement and other first responder occupations, such as fire fighting, contribute to the problem.

Occupation groups like police officers and fire fighters are exposed to a number of traumatic events which put them at a risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Previous studies have found the prevalence of PTSD in police officers to vary between 7 and 19%.   This is one reason why our long time Sheriff Nick Norton is so diligent in his effort to minimize some of these problems and keep overtime in his department personnel to a minimum.

While it is true that everyone attends bachelor parties, nights out with friends and gatherings that can and do affect each of us the next day. Everyday decisions we make can and do reflect on us and our lives daily. Just like we were taught in school, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The fact is some mistakes by the potential magnitude of their possible ‘worst case scenario’ are weighted to need urgent and immediate response. Just ask anyone who speaks at Victim Impact Panels because they have lost someone or had someone severely injured by a DUI driver

Also true is the fact that certain occupations such as law enforcement have their personnel held to higher standards, meaning those persons have less margin for error when out in normal day to day activities or special events.

Such was the case on Saturday, February 25.  Lanier County Deputy Kevin Lee was working in Lanier County when dispatched to a call for service. During his interaction with the family, they noticed Lee acting as if something was wrong. Deputy Kevin Lee left the residence and Sheriff Norton was informed out of concern for the officer.

Deputy Kevin Lee “clocked out” of work and began his journey home.

Because possibility of sobriety was a concern, Sheriff Norton actively began trying to locate Officer Lee, including notifying surrounding law enforcement agencies.  This notification included the Georgia State Patrol, who located Lee.

After Kevin Lee was stopped and arrested for driving under the influence, Chief Deputy Stryde Jones was immediately dispatched to the stop location.  The Lanier County Sheriff’s Department vehicle and all property held within were secured.

Kevin Lee’s employment with the Sheriff’s Office was immediately terminated.

Sadly, Lee has had a prior offense when he was suspended about eight years ago.  At that time he worked for Thomas County, Thomasville Narcotics, Vice Division as their commander.  Lee took responsibility at that time for his choice and apologized to the Thomas County citizenry and to his employer, the Thomas County Sheriff’s Office.  At that time, Lee was driving his personal vehicle, instead of a department vehicle.

In the Thomas County incident, records noted that Lee was unsteady on his feet, his eyes were red and glassy, and a strong odor of alcohol came from the vehicle.  The report showed he tested .148 grams for blood-alcohol content.  Lee took responsibility and acknowledged that he put himself in a bad position, along with the sheriff’s office and his job.  On the other hand, in both the Thomas County incident as well in his work within Lanier County, Lee has demonstrated good law enforcement and leadership during over two decades of law enforcement work.  What Lee may be guilty of is an inability or limited ability to positively cope and release the traumatic stress related to his work.  Unfortunately, alcohol can be a socially acceptable way to relax, but not safe when driving.

It has been said Lee has defended citizens and their property in a manner that is a credit to law enforcement. On the other hand, everyone in the community is affected when a law enforcement officer breaks the law.

Sheriff Nick Norton has affirmed, “This was terrible decision on his part. Regardless of the circumstances, this was absolutely and without question unacceptable.”

Norton went on to say, “Those who know me, know I arrested my own dad for DUI when I worked as a deputy over 30 years ago. I’m not proud of it, but it was necessary to keep him from hurting someone or his self and it was my job…. which I will always do regardless of who you are.”

This incident will be reported to POST, the certifying agency for law enforcement officers.

Read Updates at:


  1. LaTesia Branham on February 27, 2023 at 4:58 pm

    There is no excuse for why it is ok for law enforcement to get caught drinking and driving. This is amusing.

    • Editor on March 1, 2023 at 6:54 am

      Just as certain careers have increased risk, certain careers also know well from personal experience the potential result from making the choice. Those professionals should be quicker to get help!

      • Bonnie G Hogue on April 11, 2023 at 10:36 pm

        What I like to know if Norton claimed he was concerned about Kevin Lee sobriety and he had just clocked out why didn’t didn’t he call and demand he come back to the Sheriff’s Office and how can he still have a Driver’s License according to the News had been caught a month Pryor to this one for DUI how is he even allowed to be in Law Enforcement from the First incident in Thomasville Narcotics Task Force for a DUI there as well . 3rd time and not consider a abitual violator

  2. Deborah Jordan on February 28, 2023 at 4:48 am

    It is sad that he lost his job immediately..I hope he gets treatment. Kevin is a l good and honest person. It’s too bad Lanier county couldn’t offer him help instead.

    • Editor on March 1, 2023 at 6:50 am

      It is my personal opinion that it would have been wise to require treatment before hiring him and monitoring his use of support. That kind of choice might have averted this current news story. Drinking and driving (or using or texting) is distracted driving and increases the chances for accidents, injury and death.

    • Kelly Daniels on September 5, 2023 at 7:58 am

      I grew up with him. He’s not a good guy.

  3. Sandra Cannon on February 28, 2023 at 8:02 am

    I’ve knbown Kevin Lee since I was a child. Just like you and me he has a sickness! He is still a great person! Hate to hear it has cost him his life career!!! My family and I will be praying for you Lee!!! I pray for your recovery!!! And through God alone you’ll pull through this and come out with a victory story!!! The worst situations have the most beautiful blessings!!!!! You got this KEVIN LEE!!! Just 1 more way you’ll change lives for the good bc of your understanding to the struggle of sobriety!!!!

    • Editor on March 1, 2023 at 6:45 am

      Prayer is exactly what is needed for all involved. Thank you!

  4. James Hall on February 28, 2023 at 12:27 pm

    this should not have ever happened to bad he used poor judgement and got caught and it is a good thing he did he is not above the law but he is human and makes mistakes just we all do, i was in law enforcement for 10 yrs and loved every minute of it, i’m sure he will never be in law enforcement again. they don’t get paid near enough but it’s an honer to be a cop / good cop

  5. Selena Jackson on February 28, 2023 at 12:58 pm

    What goes around comes around

    • Kimberlee Griffin Moore on March 1, 2023 at 10:08 am

      Lol yep. He’s not sick. He’s always been on a power trip. Thought he was above the law. Let him get help on his own. Lanier county owes him nothing.

  6. Ryan on February 28, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    This article was 5% what happened and 95% justifying why it happened. It’s ok, you can call him a scumbag.

  7. Amber Heard on February 28, 2023 at 1:12 pm

    Trying to make an excuse for him.. That’s a shame.! He wrong just like the next person.!

  8. Robin on February 28, 2023 at 1:44 pm

    Half an article about poor decisions and PTSD. Kevin Lee has been driving drunk for years, and was on a power trip for yeaaarrrss in Thomas county. If it was anyone else besides a officer of the LAW, their feet would have been held to the fire

    • Dee on March 1, 2023 at 5:01 pm

      So true

  9. Caleb on February 28, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    This is not his first dui. Get this crooked drunk off the streets

    • Kimberlee Griffin Moore on March 1, 2023 at 10:01 am

      No excuses. He’s been in law enforcement far too long. Drinking and drinking is not a sickness it’s a choice !! And it’s happened before. Absolutely no excuse. Thank God he’s off the force. Now you can hire someone who deserves the job.

  10. Karen on March 1, 2023 at 12:38 am

    This is exactly why we should NOT DEFUND the police. As with any high stressed job such as a police officer there should be programs within the department to help with the stress mandatory attendance 2xs a month and not be worried about talking through your feelings. Job or family it should be funded.

  11. Steven Bell on March 1, 2023 at 8:10 am

    He really thought he was above the law but God shown him no man on this earth can.Kevin Lee was really nasty they just covered up for him.My saying to all the nasty law-enforcer God is watching your turn coming up and stay true to your oath “TO SERVE AND PROTECT ALL”

  12. Henry on March 1, 2023 at 6:23 pm

    Horrible article! You are trying to justify and minimize the decisions on why he decided to drink and drive in a government police vehicle. The article should of focused more on the poor decision he made and accountability that was enforced. Unfortunately you chose to focus on excuses on why he may have done it. No one is above the law and it is obvious this criminal thought he would probably get away with it. The state trooper did his job and should be congratulated. The Sheriff did his job too and he should be commended. The Sheriff terminated him immediately unlike the Sheriff in Thomas County that allowed him to return to work when he was arrested in 2016. Lanier County Sheriff’s office has ethics, integrity and high standards. Thomas County Sheriff’s office is part of the old culture good old boys.

    • John on March 10, 2023 at 11:56 am

      I don’t know what world you live in because the Lanier County Sheriff’s Office is just as corrupt as the officer arrested. They were the ones that hired this clown and confined to sweep his countless complaints under the rug. Lee got what was coming. Norton kept this drunk employed to do his dirty work.

  13. J on March 1, 2023 at 10:32 pm

    🤣😂🤣 woah

  14. Jack Davis III on March 2, 2023 at 9:48 am

    This guy is such a crooked Jack*** and deserves everything he gets. He has screwed over so many good folks in Thomasville Georgia in the past and this is just very good to see. Lots of folks are smiling in Thomas county today to hear of his downfall. What a trash bag!:

  15. Marie on March 2, 2023 at 10:03 am

    As a thomas county resident, he is not a good person and has always thought he was above the law. He has always treated ppl like sh!t. This is his karma & he deserves whatever happens!

  16. Fyregoat on March 2, 2023 at 2:40 pm

    LMAOROTFF. Deserved.

  17. Gene on March 2, 2023 at 11:58 pm

    No excuses for him he been drunk an out of control for a long time he locks other people up for drinking driving so there no excuses for his doing .he has also been a poor excuse for a lawman since coming to Lanier county so do him like everyone else lock his sorry ass up thanks

  18. Billy on March 3, 2023 at 6:01 pm

    Whoever wrote this article.. well essay should be disappointed in themselves. This isn’t the first time Kevin Lee has been drunk on duty! He quite literally could have killed someone. To drive drunk is a CHOICE and not a reaction to stress. Something he chose to do with disregard to his life, your life, and my life! He stained the badge!

  19. Billy on March 3, 2023 at 6:01 pm

    Whoever wrote this article.. well essay should be disappointed in themselves. This isn’t the first time Kevin Lee has been drunk on duty! He quite literally could have killed someone. To drive drunk is a CHOICE and not a reaction to stress. Something he chose to do with disregard to his life, your life, and my life! He stained the badge!

    • Joseph Herndon on March 9, 2023 at 3:15 pm

      Sure didn’t mind locking me up lock him up throw away the key .

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