Burlington deputy police chief takes plea deal, retires - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Burlington deputy police chief takes plea deal, retires

Posted: Updated:
Burlington Deputy Police Chief Andi Higbee-File photo Burlington Deputy Police Chief Andi Higbee-File photo
ST. ALBANS, Vt. -

Burlington's deputy police chief took a plea deal Wednesday, and then announced his retirement. The plea gets Andi Higbee off the hook for drunk driving, but the resolution of the case also ends his 24-year career with the BPD.

Higbee walked out of the Franklin County courthouse Wednesday morning after a deal with the prosecutor that reduced his DUI charge to negligent operation of a vehicle.

"As I mentioned it court, I'm fond of what Brooks did for me and the outcome this morning, very pleased," Higbee said.

Higbee's driver's license was suspended this summer after a Vermont State trooper pulled him over for an alleged traffic violation as Higbee left a concert at the Sheldon Casino in July.

Higbee's attorney, Brooks McArthur, says the plea deal was struck after chemists from both sides determined that Higbee's blood alcohol level was under the legal limit at the time of the stop.

"Once they had an understanding of what the testimony would've been, they realized that it wasn't as strong a case," McArthur said.

Franklin County State's Attorney Jim Hughes says he agreed to drop the DUI charge because of the evidence and would have done the same for any driver, not just a veteran police officer.

"I think it's a fair outcome for both the state and Mr. Higbee based on the facts of what he did," Hughes said.

In disputing the charge, Higbee's lawyer had suggested there was no probable cause for the traffic stop and that the trooper was motivated by state police quota set for the special DUI patrol. State police deny the existence of a quota, and Hughes says Higbee's plea is vindication for the trooper.

"I do think by pleading to this, it demonstrates that Vermont State Police and Trooper Hall didn't do anything improper that evening, that there were no improper incentives in place, no improper bounty systems," Deputy Franklin County Prosecutor Heather Brochu said.

The plea deal calls for a $500 fine. Higbee is due back in court next April for sentencing. In the meantime, he will enroll in alcohol counseling.

"Sometimes we have to enter into pleas to get to this outcome but in essence, it's very favorable to him," McArthur said.

Higbee was suspended from his law enforcement duties after his DUI arrest. He later returned to work on desk duty. After the court hearing, Higbee declined to talk about his job status. But just hours later, Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling announced that Higbee is retiring from the force. Schirling praised Higbee for his service over more than 24 years with the BPD. Higbee has been eligible to collect pension benefits since passing the 20-year mark on the force.

Related Stories:

Higbee fights to get license back

Trooper testifies in Higbee DUI case

Lawyers: Vt. state police had DUI bounty system

Burlington cop accused of DUI back on the job

Higbee lawyer claims prosecutors are withholding evidence

Do Vt. State Police have to meet ticket quotas?

Higbee to fight DUI stop

Could cruiser cam recording clear Burlington cop of DUI?

Alcohol tests withheld in Burlington officer's arrest

Burlington police to hire investigator in deputy chief DUI arrest

Burlington deputy police chief arrested for DUI

Burlington police officer arrested for suspected DUI

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Sugarhouse fire in Swanton

    Sugarhouse fire in Swanton

    Friday, April 18 2014 8:54 AM EDT2014-04-18 12:54:02 GMT
    A sugaring season was cut short in Swanton overnight after a shed caught fire. Fire officials tell us they got the call around 1:30 a.m. Friday for the sugarhouse fire on Woods Hill Road. They say theMore >>
    A sugaring season was cut short in Swanton overnight after a shed caught fire.More >>
  • NH ski areas to close after this weekend

    NH ski areas to close after this weekend

    Friday, April 18 2014 8:46 AM EDT2014-04-18 12:46:49 GMT
    As the temperatures start to climb, it's your last weekend to ski in New Hampshire. The three remaining areas that are open -- Loon Mountain, Cannon Mountain, and Bretton Woods -- are planning to closeMore >>
    As the temperatures start to climb, it's your last weekend to ski in New Hampshire.More >>
  • Dispatchers recognized this week

    Dispatchers recognized this week

    Friday, April 18 2014 8:45 AM EDT2014-04-18 12:45:18 GMT
    This week, the first line of emergency responders are being recognized for their work. National Telecommunicators Week ends Saturday. It's a national week honoring the men and women who work around-the-clockMore >>
    This week, the first line of emergency responders are being recognized for their work.More >>
  • Putney man ran over in driveway

    Putney man ran over in driveway

    Friday, April 18 2014 12:04 AM EDT2014-04-18 04:04:40 GMT
    A Putney man was taken to the hospital after police say he was run over in a driveway. It happened this afternoon on Kimball Hill Road. Investigators say 63-year-old Eric Ladd was walking slipped and hitMore >>
    A Putney man was taken to the hospital after police say he was run over in a driveway. It happened this afternoon on Kimball Hill Road.More >>
  • N.H. police find bottle bomb at park

    N.H. police find bottle bomb at park

    Friday, April 18 2014 12:00 AM EDT2014-04-18 04:00:59 GMT
    Police are searching for clues after a homemade bottle bomb was found at a park in Keene New Hampshire. On Wednesday workers were doing spring clean-up at Wheelock park when they found a 55-gallon drumMore >>
    Police are searching for clues after a homemade bottle bomb was found at a park in Keene New Hampshire.More >>
  • Winooski man killed in motorcycle accident

    Winooski man killed in motorcycle accident

    Thursday, April 17 2014 11:58 PM EDT2014-04-18 03:58:40 GMT
    There's been a tragedy on the Burlington beltway Thursday night. Police confirm that a 24-year-old Winooski man was killed in a motorcycle crash that shutdown the beltway. The name has been releasedMore >>
    Burlington Police confirm that a 24-year-old Winooski man was killed in a motorcycle crash that shutdown the beltline.More >>
  • Stowe couple dead in murder-suicide

    Stowe couple dead in murder-suicide

    Thursday, April 17 2014 11:08 PM EDT2014-04-18 03:08:04 GMT
    Police say two people found dead at a home in Stowe are believed to have died in a murder-suicide. Police are still not releasing their names or the cause of death, but they say the victims are adults. StoweMore >>
    A Stowe couple is dead after what police say was a murder-suicide. The news came as a shock to neighbors who say they never noticed any red flags.
    More >>
  • Leicester man charged with shootings appears in court

    Leicester man charged with shootings appears in court

    Thursday, April 17 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:58:26 GMT
    A man charged with shooting his neighbor and two Vermont State Police officers was in court Thursday in Middlebury. Timothy Foley did appear in court Thursday in Middlebury. He wasn't there last time,More >>
    A man charged with shooting his neighbor and two Vermont State Police officers was in court Thursday in Middlebury.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.