Deputy given seven day suspension, office duty for DWI conviction

An investigator for the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.

Disciplinary letter obtained Monday by NEA Report

Shows DWI deputy was ordered to surrender county vehicle, work office duty, and ride with other deputies

NEWPORT, Ark. – Even though Deputy Adam Zitzelberger was arrested for drunk driving, and lied on video about being drunk to the State Trooper, he’s still a Jackson County Sheriff’s Department Deputy in the Criminal Investigation Division.

However, he was assigned to office duty and ordered to give up his county vehicle, NEA Report learned on Monday after a response to several Freedom of Information Act requests made to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.

Zitzelberger was arrested for DWI on Sept. 17 after he blew a 0.19 on an Arkansas State Trooper’s breathalyzer. He had been swerving all over the road and was lucky not to have hit someone, the trooper told him. He couldn’t even stand up while taking a field sobriety test – which he was allowed to take in a garage. On October 23, Zitzelberger appeared before Jackson County District Judge Barbara Griffin and entered a guilty plea.

Fortunately for Zitzelberger, Sheriff David Lucas was forgiving of his investigator being convicted of a crime.

In a letter dated September 19 and released to NEA Report on Monday, Nov. 18 through Freedom of Information Act Request, the sheriff suspended Zitzelberger for seven days (it’s not clear if it was paid or unpaid leave. We asked for clarity).

The sheriff also ordered Zitzelberger to turn over his county vehicle’s keys to the chief deputy.

“…you are not allowed to drive any county owned vehicles.” – Sheriff David Lucas to Zitzelberger

Deputy Zitzelberger driving left of the center line, which is seen twice in a very short period, just before he was pulled over for a DWI on Sept. 17.

Zitzelberger’s suspension ended on September 24. At that point, the sheriff said he would be working in the office, working on cases for submission to the prosecuting attorney. Zitzelberger can respond to calls for assistance but has to ride with another responding deputy to do so.

“You will perform all duties of Office Deputy and you may assist calls for service; riding with another responding Deputy.” – Sheriff Lucas

The letter was placed in the file of Zitzelberger. It may be removed after one year if “no other incidences occur.”

To read the disciplinary letter, obtained by FOIA, use this link: A Z Disciplinary letter

In an email, Lucas didn’t respond to a question about Zitzelberger’s threatening messages to a reporter covering a Jackson County deputy prosecutor who unfairly charged a victim. That happened on March 5, 2019.

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