MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — Probate Court Judge Vivian L. Cummings Thursday morning and pleaded not guilty to a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol.
The court appearance follows an Aug. 18 traffic stop near Ivey.
The 52-year-old Swicord, who has worked at the Milledgeville Police Department since 1986, stood beside his defense attorney, Carl Cansino, as he entered his plea during a brief arraignment hearing.
A bench trial was set for Dec. 13.
After the hearing, which lasted less than three minutes, Swicord was seen getting into his city-owned police vehicle and driving away to assume his police chief duties for the day in Milledgeville.
Swicord was arrested Aug. 18 for driving with his bright lights on in his 2007 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup truck, according to an incident report filed by Georgia State Patrol Trooper First Class Tyler G. Gay, who is assigned to the Dublin post.
He was off-duty at the time of the traffic stop on Ga. Route 243 near Ivey.
The trooper said in his report that Swicord had his lights on bright when he walked up to the truck window and asked to see his driver’s license.
Gay said he later smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from inside the truck. The trooper also noted in his report, a copy of which was obtained under the Georgia Open Records Act by The Union-Recorder, that Swicord’s speech was slurred and his eyes bloodshot and watery at the time.
Swicord later reportedly agreed to a preliminary breath test, which resulted in a positive reading, and he was arrested.
Swicord reportedly later asked the trooper if he could take the breath test on two other occasions after being taken into custody. He was granted his request both times, according to Gay’s report.
Swicord submitted a blood sample to an EMT at the law enforcement center. The sample was sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Laboratory in Macon for testing.
The results have not yet been disclosed by authorities.
Swicord was released from the Wilkinson County Law Enforcement Center after posting $2,140 bond.
City Manager Barry Jarrett said Swicord telephoned him shortly after the incident and he was immediately placed on administrative leave with pay pending an internal investigation led by City Attorney Jimmy Jordan.
Following the internal investigation, Jarrett announced that the police chief was suspended for two weeks without pay. He also received a six-month cut in salary upon returning from his suspension.
Jarrett also told Swicord that he would be required to successfully complete the Georgia Department of Driver’s Services DUI Alcohol Reduction Program at his own expense.
The city manager also said Swicord must successfully complete all terms and conditions of a 24-month probation imposed upon him by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (P.O.S.T.).
Any expense associated with the state agency’s probation against Swicord becomes his reponsibility, Jarrett said in the press release.
When it comes to Swicord’s pending DUI charge, regardless if he decides to plead not guilty, guilty or is found guilty in court of the charge, first offense, or any lesser charge, Swicord must successfully complete all terms and conditions of any penalties or punishment imposed upon him by the court with any and all expenses associated with the case being his personal responsibility, Jarrett pointed out.
The city manager also said he had informed Swicord that he reserves the right to review the matter later and to impose additional disciplinary sanctions against him after the case has gone through its final court phase.