JONESBORO, Ark. – Former Egypt Police Chief Gerald Goza was arrested on Monday following an investigation into allegations he had been unlawfully acting as a police officer.
Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington told NEA Report on Monday he authorized the sheriff’s department to seek a warrant for Goza’s arrest.
Jail records show Goza was arrested at 12:15 PM Monday. Goza appeared before a district judge who found probable cause to charge him with first-degree criminal impersonation – a class D felony. He was released at 1:27 PM, an hour and 17 minutes later.
On Friday, Ellington sent a letter to the State of Arkansas Division of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (CLEST) requesting Goza be permanently decertified as a police officer.
Goza was told by CLEST on January 7 to stop all law enforcement related activities after he was found to possess a fake high school diploma. While he feigned ignorance to sheriff’s investigators, an NEA Report investigation learned he had been fired ten years prior from the Cash Police Department for the same reason. He was later fired from Alicia over misuse of a police car and complaints. In that termination, the Alicia mayor requested he be decertified. Instead, his career continued until this year.
While Goza was supposed to cease police activity on January 7, NEA Report also learned he continued in that role. A police cruiser remained parked at his residence into the month of February and witnesses told a reporter he was scene pulling people over weeks after the January 7 letter.
Updated: At 3:31 PM Monday afternoon, Ellington’s office sent out the following press release:
JONESBORO, AR – Scott Ellington, Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney, announces that he authorized a warrant for the arrest of the former Egypt police chief for the offense of impersonating a police officer.
Ellington said that last week he authorized investigators with the Craighead County
Sheriff’s Department to seek a warrant for the arrest of Gerald Goza, age 55. Goza was arrested without incident Monday morning in Craighead County. Criminal Impersonation in the First Degree, Ark. Code Ann. § 5-37-208, is a class D felony offense.
“We are moving forward with charging Gerald Goza with a felony offense for continuing
to act as a law enforcement officer after being point blank told by state officials to cease and desist,” Ellington said. “It is important to the men and women in blue that all those carrying a gun, badge, and authority under law have the public trust.”
Ellington said that the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training (CLEST) notified Goza and Egypt Mayor Jerry Cook on January 7 that Goza was removed from law enforcement service by CLEST until discrepancies related to his certification were cleared up.
Ellington said that at no point in time until February 12, 2020 was his office or the Craighead County Sheriff’s Department notified that Goza had been removed from service by CLEST.
Goza purportedly resigned as Egypt police chief the same day. The prosecutor said,
however, that a criminal investigation revealed that Goza continued to act as the Egypt police chief and was performing law enforcement duties after being removed from service by CLEST, thus impersonating a police officer.
Ellington said Goza was booked into the Craighead County jail Monday and later appeared before a district judge, who released Goza pending an appearance in Craighead County Circuit Court.