PALM HARBOR, Fla. (WFLA) -When the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office received numerous calls about a possible drunk driver on U.S. 19, deputies responded to a Palm Harbor home and made contact with 29-year old Thomas Walker.
Walker is a Palm Harbor Fire Rescue Firefighter and couldn’t understand why they were there for him.
Eight on Your Side obtained dashcam video of Walker’s arrest. The first responding deputy explained he was there because of the number of calls the department received.
Deputy: The reason I stopped you is because we got several calls about your driving. I need your driver’s license.
Walker: I’m in my private property.
Deputy: Yeah, but I saw you operating a motor vehicle. Okay? I saw you in the driver’s seat with the vehicle running.”
Walker then asks the deputy for a break.
Walker: I wish you would give me professional courtesy right now.
Deputy: Professional courtesy for what?
Walker: I’m a fireman, dude.
Deputy: Okay, you’re a firefighter?
Walker: I am.
Walker couldn’t understand why he was being arrested, when the law enforcement officers hadn’t witnessed him driving on the street.
Walker: “Did you catch me driving here”, Walker asked the deputy. “Did you catch me pulling in my driveway?”
Roger Futerman is a defense attorney, not affiliated with this case, and says he sees arrests like this quite often.
“Your own private driveway, if you can pull into a public roadway, they can get you,” said Futerman. “I’ve had many clients as they are pulling up to their house, right there, ten feet from their doorstep in a tiny little culdesac and the cops get them as they’re walking up.”
Walker didn’t lose his job as a firefighter with Palm Harbor Fire Rescue, but a department spokeswoman told Eight on Your Side he was suspended for 24 hours and can’t operate any of the department’s vehicles pending the outcome of the case.