Retired Sergeant with Sheriff’s Office arrested during traffic stop

Written by K Bishop

Published September 14, 2022 @ 2:48 PM ET

Coweta County A retired Sergeant, previously with the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, was arrested on DUI and drug-related charges.

Noland Bernard Ballard, 56, was in full Fulton County Sheriff’s uniform, including a gunbelt, at the time of his arrest.

Shortly before midnight on December 6, 2021, Deputy Bufano with the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office stopped Ballard’s Toyota Camry on an off-ramp from I-85. The deputy noticed that Ballard was glassy-eyed and that the vehicle smelled of Marijuana. He also noted Ballard’s uniform.

Ballard admitted to having Marijuana in the vehicle and showed the deputy. He denied having any other drugs in the vehicle. When asked to step out of the car, he neglected to place it in park, and the vehicle began to roll.

Once the vehicle was secured, Deputy Bufano performed a search of Ballard and his vehicle, with Ballard’s consent.

The deputy located more Marijuana in the vehicle, along with drug paraphernalia and miniature bottles of wine. Ballard was read his Miranda rights and placed under arrest.

Deputies conducted a series of Field Sobriety tests, which Ballard failed.

Ballard gave consent for a blood draw. He was booked into the Coweta County Jail and charged with ‘DUI Combined Influence- Less Safe,’ ‘Marijuana Possession,’ ‘Possession of Drug Related Objects,’ and an ‘Open Container’ violation.

Ballard’s Glock 22c Service weapon was later found in his vehicle and turned in to Deputy Bufano. The service weapon was booked into evidence along with the drug paraphernalia, blood kit, and Marijuana.

Ballard is due to appear for a jury trial in the Coweta State Court on October 3, 2022.

Officer’s Narrative:
[Please note: The following is a direct transcription from the officer’s narrative report. We do not fix any spelling or grammatical errors. Any changes made by our staff are placed inside brackets. Some errors may exist.]

On 12/6/2021 at approximately 2339hrs I, Deputy Bufano, was participating in a supervisor approved roadcheck (Coweta S.O. Case:2112000230) which resulted in the arrest of Noland Ballard.

While participating in the roadcheck at the I-85 SB Exit 51 off-ramp I observed a Toyota Camry approaching the roadcheck. Once the Camry got close to me it turned into the far right emergency lane and began traveling at a slow speed, continuing toward me.

I placed my hand and signaled for the vehicle to stop so it would not hit me. The vehicle stopped and I approached the vehicle on the driver side, I then came into contact with the driver, Noland Ballard. I noticed he had bloodshot/watery eyes upon my contact with him. His front driver side window was rolled completely down and I smelled the strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle. I also noticed that Ballard was wearing a full Fulton County Sheriff’s Office uniform and had his gun belt on also. I asked for his ID and he handed me his retired Fulton County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant ID card.

I then questioned him about the odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle, I asked if he had any marijuana inside the vehicle and he stated “a little bit”. Ballard grabbed a black container located under the radio area and he opened it and revealed it had marijuana residue inside of it.

I asked if he had any more marijuana in the vehicle and he advised he did not. I had him step out of the vehicle, when he did this he forgot to put the vehicle in park and the vehicle began to roll backwards but he was able to stop it before it crashed. The vehicle was placed in drive and I had him meet me at the rear bumper of his vehicle. I got consent from him to search his person and did not locate any contraband on him, However I did notice his service weapon was missing from it’s holster on his hip.

Deputies on scene stoodby with Ballard while I searched the vehicle. Upon a search of the vehicle I located a half full bottle of Sutterhome red wine in the front cupholder within Ballards’ immediate reach. I located a smoking pipe in between the front driver’s seat and center console, the pipe had partially burnt marijuana (Based on my knowledge, training and experience) located in it. A marijuana joint was also located near the driver’s seat along with a second smoking pipe, but this pipe did not have marijuana inside of it.

Cigarette Rolling papers, consistent with marijuana usage, was also found in the vehicle along with a green zip-up bag that had a clear sandwich baggie of a misdemeanor amount of marijuana (based on my knowledge, training and experience). I then located a misdemeanor amount of loose marijuana in the center console. Ballard was placed under arrest at this time, after this I read Ballard his Miranda warning and he stated he understood his rights.

While I was in further contact with him, I smelled the moderate odor of alcohol coming from his breath. I asked if he had been drinking any alcoholic beverages. He advised he only had a bottle of the 6oz Sutter Home red wine. In relation to alcohol, all-together Inside the vehicle we located 2 empty 6oz bottles of the Sutter Home red wine along with the half-full 6oz bottle of Sutter Home red wine.

Later I asked Ballard if he’d be willing to complete field sobriety evaluations for me, he advised he would. I had DS R. Brooks standby with me while I took off Ballard’s handcuffs and completed the evaluation.

I conducted the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus evaluation on Ballard. I medically qualified Ballard and observed lack of smooth pursuit in both eyes and distinct and sustained nystagmus at maximum deviation in both eyes.

I conducted the walk and turn evaluation on Ballard. I placed Ballard in the starting stance during my instructions. As I was explaining the instructions Ballard became off balance and broke the starting stance. I placed him back in the starting stance after explaining the evaluation and I asked if he understood the instructions, he advised he did.

I told him to begin and on the first series of steps he used his arms for balance and turned improperly. While turning Ballard took a series of small steps and spun in a circle until I told him to stop and to walk down the line to complete his second series of steps. On the second series of steps I observed Ballard Missed heel to toe, stepped off line and used his arms to balance.

I conducted the one leg stand evaluation on Ballard. I explained the instructions to Ballard and he advised he understood. I told him to begin and during the evaluation I observed he placed his left foot down 5 times, swayed and used his arms for balance.

I placed Ballard into handcuffs again, checked for proper fit and double locked them to ensure proper fit. I read Ballard the green-carded Georgia Implied consent notice and asked him for a blood sample, he consented to giving a blood sample

I grabbed the evidence I collected on scene, placed it in my patrol car and transported Ballard while Deputies stoodby on scene with his vehicle and waited for next-list, Orr’s Wrecker service) to arrive on scene. Later Ballard’s service weapon was located in the vehicle and was given to me at the Sheriff’s Office by Deputies on scene.

Upon arrival to the Coweta Jail, I had Coweta County EMS arrive on scene for a blood draw. I obtained a GBI blood Kit from my patrol car and opened it inside the jail. I handed Paramedic [REDACTED] the two vials inside the kit and he took two samples of Ballard’s blood at 0033hrs on 12/7/2021. The vials were placed back into the GBI blood kit and the kit was sealed

The marijuana, GBI blood kit, drug related objects and Ballards Glock 22c Service pistol were placed into evidence at the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office.

[End of Narrative]