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Accused officer honored in 2006
Moulton cop recognized
for work on drug cases

By Kristen Bishop 340-2443

MOULTON — A Moulton police officer accused of buying drugs from an undercover narcotics agent Friday made 18 drug-related arrests in 2006 and was named the Dayshift Officer of the Year.

The state attorney general's office has charged Octavius Hamilton, 43, of 112 Web St., Moulton, with possession of a controlled substance for allegedly buying 30 2-milligram tablets of Xanax, an often-abused prescription anxiety drug, in the Midway Piggly Wiggly parking lot.

Investigators said they videotaped the transaction.

Moulton Police Chief Lyndon McWhorter, who was aware of but not involved in the investigation, said he had heard rumors of Hamilton's alleged drug activity but that he was always a "highly productive officer."

"I've had people make allegations in the past, but there was never anything substantial," said McWhorter.

In 2006, Hamilton made 150 arrests, issued 388 tickets and answered 932 calls, making him a qualified candidate for the department's Dayshift Officer of the Year award, said McWhorter.

He said he was "shocked and heartbroken" to find out one of his own was involved in criminal activity.

"As a superior, this is a first," he said. "It's sad, disappointing. Anytime you have an officer involved in something like this, it gives the entire department a black eye. People forget that 99 percent of officers work hard and are dedicated to their jobs."

The attorney general's office, the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department and other agencies began investigating Hamilton about two weeks ago after receiving "credible information" that Hamilton was in the market to buy drugs.

Lawrence County Sheriff Gene Mitchell said authorities have to be extra cautious when investigating a law enforcement official because of citizen complaints.

"If it's an officer, we need more solid evidence," he said. "Officers get complained on all the time because people come up with reasons to not like them. You have to be sure."

The Lawrence County Jail released Hamilton on Saturday on $7,500 bond, but the investigation is ongoing, said Mitchell.

"It will continue for several days until we've gotten all the information processed to see what leads where," he said. "We still have to answer questions like 'Where were these drugs going?' and 'What was their purpose?' "

Mitchell said Hamilton was not given a drug test after his arrest.

Hamilton, who has worked in law enforcement for 18 years, is suspended without pay pending the results of the investigation. McWhorter said it is unlikely that he will return to the police department if convicted.

"It will be up to the council and the personnel board," he said. "But, if convicted, the (Alabama Police Officer Standard Training) commission would surely take away his certification."

This is not the first time Hamilton has been suspended or fired.

The Moulton City Council fired him on March 6, 1995, for loitering on the job. Hamilton was reportedly driving home during his shift and going to sleep.

Hamilton denied the allegations and filed a wrongful termination lawsuit, claiming he was being racially discriminated against.

He won his case and returned to the police department in 1998.

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