An Alabama police chief has been removed from duty after being accused of fondling himself in public while looking at teenage girls in Florida, police said.
Alabama and Florida authorities cooperated to arrest Billy Maurice Driggers, 44, at his office on Oct. 4 and jailed him on four counts of disorderly conduct, according to the Panama City Beach Police Department.
Diggers is employed as chief of police in Level Plains, Alabama, a small city of approximately 2,000 residents in state’s southeast corner. The events leading up to his arrest allegedly occurred on Oct. 2.
According to Panama City Beach investigators, officers arrived at Aqua Condominiums on Oct. 2 in response to a complaint about a suspicious person.
“Officers made contact with security staff and were advised guests of the resort observed a white male masturbating while watching females,” reads a news release from the city’s police department.
Driggers was not a registered guest at the condominiums and had no valid reason to be on the property, police said.
Upon reviewing surveillance video, investigators allegedly observed Driggers in the elevator of the building. On at least three separate occasions, Driggers was allegedly seen with his hand down his pants, “masturbating in the presence of women and children,” according to police.
Investigators reviewed additional surveillance videos, which allegedly showed Driggers pleasuring himself while walking behind a group of teenage girls. He was also allegedly seen taking photos and videos of the girls as they utilized outside showers near the beach.
“During the course of the investigation, investigators were not able to locate an instance where Driggers exposed his genitalia while masturbating,” the Panama City Beach Police Department statement reads. “However, Driggers actions were found to be obscene and sexually deviant in nature.”
The City of Level Plains says it has placed Driggers on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of his adjudication.
“The City of Level Plains will be cooperating and assisting with the ongoing investigation with Alabama and Florida law enforcement agencies,” the mayor’s office said in an Oct. 4 media release. “In the interim during Driggers absence, another police officer will be appointed to serve as the acting police chief.”
Driggers became chief of the Level Plains Police Department in June 2016. At the time, outgoing police chief John Mason, who had resigned to pursue another job, called Driggers a “great replacement,” The Southeast Sun reported.
Speaking with the same media outlet, Level Plains Mayor Bruce Grantham said Driggers was well-suited for the role of police chief.
“He’s been with us for years,” Grantham said. “He’s been in charge when the chief was out. He’s got the training, and he’s well-qualified to do the job.”
Driggers’ alleged conduct did not sit well with members of his community.
“To me, it’s not good at all, especially with children around here, and he’s supposed to protect and serve,” resident Kim Bush told WDHN News. “That’s not good at all because, in my opinion, children are supposed to look up to him, and he’s not doing good at all.”
Resident Belinda Collins expressed similar concerns.
“It makes it look like nobody has done complete background checks,” she told WDHN News. “That’s something that needs to be done, even periodically. You know, maybe he would’ve been caught before now, but I’m just glad he got caught.”
Following his arrest, Driggers was held without bond at the jail in Dale County, Alabama. He remained there until Oct. 5, when Dale County deputies transported him to Bay County, Florida.
The investigation is ongoing, according to Florida police.