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Report: Former Officer Asked Employees For Pain Medication

Former Woodstock Police Sgt. Keith Smith made a habit of asking his colleagues for pain medication before he was fired in 2012.

Keith Patrick Smith, 45, of Woodstock, pleaded guilty on Dec. 4 to one count of withholding information from a practitioner and one count of violation of oath by a public officer. He will serve 7 years on probation. Credit: Cherokee Sheriff's Office
Keith Patrick Smith, 45, of Woodstock, pleaded guilty on Dec. 4 to one count of withholding information from a practitioner and one count of violation of oath by a public officer. He will serve 7 years on probation. Credit: Cherokee Sheriff's Office
A former sergeant with the Woodstock Police Department who recently pleaded guilty to so-called "doctor shopping" asked eight colleagues at least a dozen times if they had pain medication, sometimes while he was on duty.

That's according to an internal investigation completed by the agency in 2012 on allegations that former Sgt. Keith Smith asked several employees if they could spare medication to relieve pain stemming from a neck injury.

Smith, who lives in Woodstock, pleaded guilty on Dec. 4 to one count of withholding information from a practitioner and one count of violation of oath by a public officer. He was sentenced to seven years probation, pay $1,000 court fine, must perform 100 hours of community service and receive treatment for substance abuse.

Along with his probation, Smith was required to surrender his certification from the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, and can no longer work as a law enforcement officer or security guard.

The report concluded that six of the eight employees provided Smith with pain medication.

"As it is, it appears (that), when Smith would find out that a fellow employee had a legitimate medical issue that required the use of pain medication, he would seek them out, using the reason of neck pain, and ask them if they would give him some of their medication," the report states.

The employees were solicited multiple times over a three-year period, according to the report. 

Patch received a copy of the report through an open records request. Assistant Chief Bart Geisey and Capt. Kevin Culpepper in October 2012 launched the investigation after they were contacted by a lieutenant who was concerned that Sgt. Keith Smith "may have an issue with prescription pain killers."

Both Geisey and Culpepper met with Smith on that same day, and confronted the sergeant about whether he'd asked employees for pain medication. Smith told his superiors that he did ask employees for pain medication, but for only Motrin and Tylenol. He also said he'd received medication from one officer, but that happened a year ago. 

However, that officer contradicted Smith's statements. On Oct. 14, he told Geisey that he'd given Smith pain medication — which he had due to his back problems — once during the spring and two more times two to three months before the interview.

The men once met at a convenience store where the officer — who was off duty — gave Smith —who was on duty — the remainder of his medication. 

"[The officer] states he started to suspect that Sgt. Smith might be having a problem with pain killers," Geisey wrote in the report.

Another department employee told Culpepper on Oct. 22 that Smith, who was placed on administrative leave during the investigation, asked her for Percocet, a narcotic pain killer, once. She said the former sergeant stopped by her house — while in uniform — and asked for the drug.

The employee rejected Smith's request.

A former court records employee on Oct. 22 told Culpepper that Smith asked her on two occasions — both times occurring around the time she had surgery — for Percocet to help relieve pain in his neck. She told her superiors she provided Smith with anti-nausea medication, which she said could help him get some sleep as it caused drowsiness. 

She stated Smith asked her a second time for pain medication, but she refused.

Smith also asked an officer he was overseeing for training if she had medication to help him mitigate a "foot problem," the report states. 

Another officer exchanged medications with Smith between five and 10 times, several of which happened while Smith was on duty. That officer noted he began to worry that Smith was developing a habit, but said Smith asked for the medication because he was in pain.

One officer told Geisey he'd given Smith pain medication three of four times between late 2009 and early 2010 "to help out his friend" because he could "empathize" with his situation. 

Another officer also told Geisey that Smith asked him for medication twice in early 2012. He noted he was "shocked that a supervisor asked him for prescription pain medication."

"According to [the officer], on both occasions, Smith mention that his evaluation was coming up and that he would remember that he helped him out," Geisey wrote.

Another officer told authorities that Smith asked him for medication once, but he "wasn't really comfortable" with giving him medication. After his initial interview with Geisey, that same officer reported back to the assistant chief something he'd remembered that could be important to the internal investigation. 

The officer told Geisey he remembered at one point needing to refill a prescription, but didn't have the money to do so. He told the assistant chief that Smith overheard him talking about that situation, and "offered to loan him the money for the refill if [he] would give him some," Geisey wrote. 

The officer declined the proposition. 

Smith later admitted to asking several employees for pain medication because he was in pain and "simply wanted relief," Culpepper wrote. 

Smith was found to be in violation of three city policies: possession of controlled substances, conduct unbecoming, on/off duty conduct and duty to abide by all laws and orders. 

His employment was terminated by the Woodstock Police Department on Nov. 14, 2012. 

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Eric Gallo December 13, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Alright-enough already. This is a sad case of a guy that obviously got addicted to pain medications and has now hit the bottom by losing his job, losing his reputation and is now facing the legal issues associated with all of it. No one just wakes up one day and says "oh, I think Ill become an addict and lose everything"-its a progressive and destructive disease, and yes he must be accountable but these articles serve to do nothing ore but humiliate this man and his family -so why not find something more useful to write about. For example, a relevant article about the rampant painkiller addictions across all of Georgia-and what can be done about it. There are "pill mills" all over the place. Write something about that and the people that run them-maybe it will help someone else not fall into the same problem.
adrian smith December 13, 2013 at 10:22 PM
Isn't it a crime to give or sell your prescription medications to anyone? So will these officers who gave him some of their pain meds be prosecuted also?
Roz December 15, 2013 at 04:44 AM
I will state one thing. Dr. Michael Schaufele is NOT party of any 'pill mill'. I use him and have extensive and crippling back problems, buy I won't even take any narcotic pain killers, by my own choice. I choose alternative treatment methods. Pain narcotics don't 'fix' anything, they mask symptoms and the issue causing the problem is still there. People are going to see themselves caught up on charges like these because of the new tracking system on the dispense and fill of these prescription drugs and I'm grateful for that. There are some really good pain management practices that aren't 'pill mills', so please do research before lumping them all together.

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