Sheriff says deputy took more than 1,000 pills from Drug Take-Back program without approval
A Muscogee County sheriff’s deputy stole more than 1,000 pills from the Drug Take-Back program that encourages the public to give their unwanted medication to officials for proper disposal, Sheriff Donna Tompkins said.
“It’s very sad anytime, for us, one of our own is not upholding our high standards but certainly it makes me more concerned,” she said Friday morning during a press conference. “These are a lot of drugs and everything you have access to.”
Cpl. Bridget Goolsby, who has been with the sheriff’s department for 18 years, was placed on paid administrative leave. She faces one count of violation of oath by a public officer and numerous drug charges.
The Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office launched its Drug-Take Back program in 2014 as a partnership with the Drug Enforcement Agency. Drop boxes are left at area businesses on certain days, giving residents a place to leave their unwanted medication.
A drop box was kept on the fourth floor of the Government Center all year around. Authorities are then responsible for disposing of it properly.
Tompkins said her administration reviewed the program and determined that it lacked adequate controls to ensure accountability when it was launched in 2014.
“Between May and July of this year, I began to make changes in the procedures for how these drugs and how this program was to be operated and how the drugs were to be collected and stored to provide for better controls and accountability for these pharmaceuticals,” she said.
Since 2015, Goolsby was responsible for collecting medication deposited in those drop boxes. That duty was given to the drug custodian on July 11 and all of the keys for the boxes were collected from Goolsby, authorities said.
Tompkins said she was one of several officials who saw Goolsby taking medication from the drop box at the Government Center without approval around 6 p.m. Tuesday. She wasn’t on duty at the time, the sheriff added.
“We seized from her at that time a garbage bag full of medication,” said sheriff, who said it’s a possibility that the Drug Take-Back program may be discontinued.
Deputies launched an investigation and searched Goolsby’s home. Tompkins said more than 1,000 pills that were collected from the program were found in her residence.
Goolsby was charged with one count each of violation of oath by a public officer, fraudulently obtaining controlled substances schedule II, violation of Georgia Controlled Substance Act (Schedule II- Vicodin and Hydrocodone) and violation of Georgia Controlled Substance Act (Schedule IV- Tramadol).
She was booked into the Muscogee County Jail, but she was released after posting bonds totaling $20,000. The case was bound over to Superior Court.
Tompkins said more details will be released once they become available.