Former Sturgis police chief gets probation in drunk driving case

Amelia Benavides-Colón
The Detroit News

The former Sturgis police chief on Thursday pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and was sentenced to probation, according to the Michigan Attorney General's Office. 

Geoffrey Smith, 46, admitted to driving his car with a blood alcohol level of .17 or higher on August 15, 2020. 

Court was held via Zoom session where County District Court Judge Paul Beardslee ruled that Smith will serve 12 month probation, with in-home alcohol monitoring for the first 90 days. 

Smith is ordered to pay restitution, though the amount hasn't been set because damages are still being assessed. 

In body camera video obtained by MLive, Smith can be seen at the scene of a crash complaining of neck pain. He tells the officer to give him a preliminary breath test, but the officer tells him the test would need to be administered by state or county police and they would need to take over the scene. 

The same officer later describes Smith as "very intoxicated."

Smith resigned his position from the Sturgis Police Department immediately after the incident.

“Law enforcement must be held to a high standard. I recognize Mr. Smith’s acceptance of responsibility in this case and subsequent accountability for his actions,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement. 

Smith has the right to petition for early probation release after six month if he remains compliant with all terms and conditions, Nessel's office said.