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05/17/2019

Former Hamilton, Guin police officer arrested

Former Hamilton, Guin police officer arrested

• Walter facing various drug charges

Walter,-Tim.jpg

Tim Walter

Article and contributed by The Journal Record

 HAMILTON -  A former Hamilton and Guin policeman is behind bars after an anonymous tip led to his arrest on various drug charges last week.

 Tim Allen Walter, 33, Guin, was arrested on Wednesday, May 1, in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot in Guin after a two-week investigation, Marion County Sheriff Kevin Williams said.

 Walter was charged with possession of a controlled substance, driving under the influence (DUI), child endangerment, conspiracy to commit a controlled substance crime and dispensing pharmaceuticals without a license. Walter remains in the Marion County Jail in Hamilton on a $18,000 bond, Williams said.

 The anonymous tip led investigators to believe that Walter was trading his legally-prescribed medication for suboxone strips.
 
Suboxone strips, a prescription medication, are easily dissolved in the mouth and are used to treat opioid abuse disorder.

 Williams said a lot of information that flows through his department comes through anonymous tips.

“A lot of people don’t want to get involved and want to remain anonymous,” the sheriff said.

“We had a cooperative individual in this situation that helped us. We’ve had information before that Tim may be doing some things but we never could prove anything. This time we could and it worked out.”

At the time of the arrest, Walter was driving under the influence of a controlled substance, Williams said. Walter’s daughter, who is approximately 3-years old, was in the vehicle at the time, resulting in the child endangerment charge, Williams said.

 According to Journal Record archive stories, Walter joined the Hamilton Police Department in August 2012 and resigned in December 2013. Walter joined the Guin PD in June 2014 and was rehired to the Hamilton PD in April 2017. Walter was most recently employed as a part-time officer with the Carbon Hill Police Department.

 Carbon Hill Police Chief Eric House said Walter was hired as a part-time officer with the Carbon Hill Police Department on April 22 and had only worked a few shifts at the time of his arrest.

 House said he terminated Walter on Thursday morning, the day after Walter was arrested.

“My policy is strict,” House said. “If you, as a police officer on my force, commit or are arrested for any felonies, you’re terminated, you’re done. If it’s deemed not true or whatever, we’ll come back and revisit it and see what’s happening, but anything like that, my policy is, you’re done.”

House said he had no choice but to terminate Walter because people in the community hold police officers to a higher standard.
“They expect us to do what’s right 100% of the time,” House said.
 Williams said he feels bad for Walter, whom he had come to know personally through their years in law enforcement.

“I hate it for him and I hate it for his family, but hopefully he can turn his life around with this situation.”

Williams said this case is a prime example that drugs don’t discriminate against anyone.

“We’re all vulnerable. You can be rich, poor or indigent--it doesn’t matter--it affects everybody, even law enforcement officers. Law enforcement as a whole is very stressful and some officers choose different ways to handle their stress and unfortunately, in this case, Tim chose the wrong path.”

Williams said the arrest of a former law enforcement officer introduces a host of problems related to Walter’s incarceration.
 Williams said there are individuals in the jail whom Walter may have arrested, so he has placed Walter in a medical isolation cell away from the general population.

“It’s my job as sheriff to protect all the inmates, no matter who they are. There’s no way I can put him in general population. I can’t take that chance. There are a lot of people that don’t like us. He could get beat up and possibly stabbed or killed.”

Williams said if Walter cannot make bond, he may have to transport him to another jail in another county for his protection.
“I’m hoping he can make bond and get on with his life, that’s what I’m hoping for,” Williams said.

 Williams said the agencies involved in the case were the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, the Guin Police Department and local agents with Region E Alabama Drug Task Force.

“I appreciate everybody working together,” Williams said. “When we cooperate and share information as law enforcement agencies, good things can come out of it. One positive aspect of this case is that we all worked together. It was difficult for us to arrest one of our own, but we have a job to do and we are going to do it no matter who it is. We have to enforce the law and we did that in this case. I just hope in the future Tim can get some help and get past this situation.” 

 (When a defendant is charged with a crime, the charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.)

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