UPDATE: Chattanooga police officer under investigation for criminal offenses
Police records show an officer, who is being investigated for criminal offenses, has been investigated by the department for similar offenses in the past.
UPDATE: Police records show an officer, who is being investigated for criminal offenses, has been investigated by the department for similar offenses in the past. Officer Daniel Mitchum is still on modified duty after crashing his patrol car on Interstate 75 in August. He was off-duty at the time.
In August, Channel 3 requested access to Officer Daniel Mitchum's personnel file to learn more about the allegations he's facing. Police would only say the crash involving his patrol car was under investigation.
Thursday, we got a look at those documents. They show Mitchum is being investigated for potential criminal charges, and a crash involving alcohol was the topic of a separate investigation.
Daniel Mitchum is working a desk job at the Chattanooga Police Department. He isn't allowed to carry his city-issued weapon while the circumstances surrounding his most recent crash are investigated. It is still unclear why Mitchum is on modified duty. A spokesperson for the police department said she could not comment on the ongoing internal affairs investigation. However, personnel records show Mitchum is being investigated for criminal offenses, including a felony and a Class A misdemeanor.
The crash in August is the second crash Mitchum has been involved in since he started at the police department in 2013. In October 2015, Mitchum crashed his personal car on Standifer Gap Road. According to a police report, Mitchum was speeding, lost control and struck a tree. He suffered serious injuries. At the hospital, a blood sample was taken and submitted to the TBI. It came back at .07, which is below the .08 threshold for a DUI.
Attorney Matt Brock, who has no connection to the case, but handles many DUI cases, said it is easy to see why no criminal charges were filed in that crash.
“If you get into an accident and your BAC is below a .08 then that is not a DUI particularly if you do some field tests and you appear sober according to the training," Brock said. "Again, it is important to remember it is not illegal to drink and drive. It is illegal to be impaired and drive.”
Mitchum's files do not indicate an internal investigation into the first crash, but a spokesperson for the department said one was conducted.
This latest crash is still in the internal affairs process. Once we learn the outcome, we will share it with you.
Channel 3 has tried for months to reach Mitchum. He has not returned our calls or messages.
Stay with the WRCB app for updates to this story.
PREVIOUS STORY: The Chattanooga Police Department is investigating a crash involving one of their officers. It happened Friday morning on Interstate 75, near Exit 4.
Daniel Mitchum has been with the Chattanooga Police Department since 2013. While the department investigates this crash, Mitchum will be on paid modify duty.
Facebook video, shared on his public page, captures Chattanooga Police Officer Daniel Mitchum behind the wheel of his patrol car last year. He'll be working a desk job, and will not be able to carry his city-issued weapon while the circumstances surrounding this crash are investigated.
Mitchum crashed his patrol car on Interstate 75 South during rush hour Friday morning. His injuries are not serious. A spokesperson for the department confirms he was off-duty when the crash happened and no other vehicles were involved.
According to department policy, officers are allowed to drive their patrol cars while off duty, as long as they are on city business, attending community functions, or working a side job. It is unclear where Mitchum was headed when the crash happened.
It is also not clear why Mitchum is on modified duty during the investigation. We wanted to know if Mitchum is being investigated for breaking any laws and if sobriety tests were conducted. A spokesperson tells Channel 3 it is not standard practice to test the blood alcohol level of officers involved in crashes, and if tests were conducted in this case, those would be part of the ongoing investigation that cannot be discussed at this time.
We have requested Daniel Mitchum's personnel file from the city for any internal affairs investigations or complaints. When we get that paperwork, we will be sure to share it with you.
Officer Mitchum has not responded to our calls for comment.