Officer fired after DWI
A Benton police officer has been terminated after a recent DWI arrest.
Heath Curtis Ward, 32, of Benton was hired by the Benton Police Department more than two years ago as a patrol officer.
On Feb. 9, at 1:50 a.m., Ward was reportedly stopped by Bryant Officer Jon Haydon on Interstate 30 near the Springhill overpass for speeding, failing to use turn signals for lane changes and swerving between lanes.
Haydon said when he approached Ward, he could smell alcohol and see that Ward had bloodshot and watery eyes. Ward initially said that he had not been drinking. However, when Haydon asked again, Ward reportedly said "Oh, yeah."
When asked to take a field sobriety test, Ward reportedly replied that he was a Benton police officer.
"You can get me fired if you want to," Ward said, according to the police report.
Ward reportedly admitted to drinking 30 minutes before driving. Haydon said Ward failed a field sobriety test and registered a 0.10 percent on a portable breath test.
At 2:56 a.m., Ward was given a blood-alcohol breath test at the Bryant Police Department and registered a 0.08 percent, the report said. Ward was issued citations for speeding and DWI and released to the care of Lt. Mike Kassel of the Benton Police Department.
Benton Police Chief Kirk Lane said Ward was immediately placed on paid administrative leave and the department conducted an internal investigation.
Lt. Kevin Russell, public information officer for the Benton Police Department, said on Feb. 15 Ward was terminated for violations of department policies and procedures.
"We take these types of incidents very serious," Russell said. "The officers here are held to a higher standard of integrity."