Ex-officer relieved by dropped charge, still without job
Former JSO officer forced to resign last year
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A former officer for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said he's relieved to know a drunken driving charge against him has been dropped -- the same DUI charge that led to his resignation from the police force.
Eight months after Mike Rolison crashed his police cruiser head-on into another car and the same week he spoke out publicly for the first time, saying he wasn't drunk in the crash, his name has been cleared. But he's still without a job and can't provide for his family.
"The Sheriff's Office, at the time, allowed us to work an extra 104 hours a month of extra duty, and I did that for years and years just so we could survive, and my wife wasn't working," Rolison said. "We had all my kids. My oldest son in December was in a car crash in Atlanta, and he's a quadriplegic now, so everything just kept piling up and piling up."
In August, the Florida Highway Patrol said Rolison lost control of his police cruiser on Greenbriar Road near County Road 210 in St. Johns County, crossed the center line and hit another car head-on.
The investigating trooper said she smelled alcohol and observed signs of impairment.
"The airbag hit me in the face. I had a concussion," Rolison said. "I had six stitches under one of my eyes."
The trooper also found a beer bottle cap inside the patrol car that matched a beer bottle on the road near the crash scene, according to FHP.
Rolison admitted to having one beer on his way home from a 12-hour shift.
FHP said Rolison refused to take a blood alcohol test at the hospital, but hours later, he agreed to one with JSO. His results were negative, but Rolison said JSO told him he could resign from the force or be terminated.
"You have all these dynamics working against this person, and in the view of the organization, JSO felt that he possibly did commit a crime by getting in a car after drinking and becoming involved in a crash," Channel 4 crime analyst Ken Jefferson said.
Rolison was set for trial, but the state attorney's office dropped the charge Wednesday, saying there wasn't enough evidence.
"I spent two and a half years with the DUI Unit with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office," Rolison said. "If this would have been my case that I was investigating, it never would have gotten to this point."
Rolison said he's glad this is finally off his shoulders.
"I know I violated department policy, but I did not violate the law as proof through my blood results. It's just sad that it had to end this way. I mean, it's what I've wanted to do my whole life, and it's sad that it had to end this way."
Rolison said he doesn't know what he's going to do from here, but even with his law enforcement certificate, he knows it will be very difficult to continue a career in that field.
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