An internal investigation began on Nov. 4, when Det. Tim Poarch was placed on paid administrative leave. After discovering discrepancies dating back to July of this year, Calhoun Police Chief Garry Moss halted the internal investigation, however, and called the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Poarch resigned following his Nov. 10 arrest on felony theft by taking charges and, according to jail records, was released on a $5,000 bond.
No initial report was made by the police department and Moss said he hasn’t spoken about the case because he didn’t want to interfere with the investigation.
Moss said he became suspicious earlier this month after vouchers for drug investigations began showing up with fictitious dealer names. Officers fill out the vouchers to include the amount of money used, drugs purchased and from whom.
“No one knew these names (on the vouchers),” said Moss. “Even more telling was the fact there were no drugs in evidence to back it up.”
Moss described Poarch as a “good officer” who developed a prescription drug problem after a series of car accidents.
The emotional impact of the situation has been difficult at best, said Moss.
“I feel like this happened to one of my children,” said Moss. “I keep asking myself, ‘Did I miss the signs?’”
According to Moss, Poarch first took narcotic medication after a 2000 wreck in a police car. Since then, he’d been involved in three more wrecks; each time he was prescribed hydrocodone.
Moss voiced frustration with doctors who prescribe hydrocodone or Loratab for even minor ailments, saying these drugs are more addictive than methamphetamine and harder to kick. Unlike illegal street drugs, he said, prescription addiction doesn’t always leave physical clues.
He said hindsight has provided some subtle clues, such as a change in Poarch’s demeanor around the same time that the fake vouchers began appearing.
“I think he was feeling guilty,” said Moss. “If he’d come to me, we could have gotten him help.”
Once the criminal activity surfaced, Moss said, the department was left with no choice than to pursue an investigation.
Moss said he’s been in touch several times with Poarch, including an emotional talk in his office recently. He said Poarch plans to enter rehab.
“It’s really hit home,” said Moss. “We’re like family here.”