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Police Officer Resigns After Arrest for Brandishing Handgun

Ryan Head allegedly threatened a witness following hit-and-run incident.

Ryan Head. Gwinnett County Jail mug shot
Ryan Head. Gwinnett County Jail mug shot

A Gwinnett County police officer has resigned, stemming from an incident in which he allegedly brandished a handgun after a hit-and-run accident Saturday.

Ryan Head resigned instead of being fired by the county after he was arrested on charges of simple assault and disorderly conduct Saturday, May 31. Head, who has been released on bond, is an Auburn resident, according to Gwinnett Jail records.

Gwinnett Police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said Head was the passenger in the at-fault vault vehicle in the hit-and-run accident. Smith said a witness followed the vehicle after the wreck and called police. The witness then blocked vehicle in a cul-de-sac.

“Witnesses reported that Head exited the vehicle, produced a handgun and tapped on the witness’s window with it,” Smith said in a statement. “There was no physical confrontation, no shots were fired, and the weapon was not pointed directly at any person.”

Smith said Head was “verbally belligerent” but did not resist arrest.

Head was served a letter on Sunday, June 1, announcing the department’s intention to fire him. “He resigned in lieu of termination,” Smith said.

Head had been with the department for five years.

The investigation continues.

Check back for updates.

Maria A. June 07, 2014 at 10:00 PM
They have a shortage? Since when? Many have been trained and hired over the past few years. They have been coming through the academy like crazy. This is the first I have heard of a shortage. Seems Gwinnett has had the "pick of the litter" for quite some time. Shortage?
Maria A. June 07, 2014 at 10:10 PM
In reply to someone's earlier comment, I would love to have Mr. Head patrolling my neighborhood. Beats having no one patrolling! In addition, I believe he may have just learned a valuable lesson, so he is likely to be more on his toes than someone who has not learned a tough lesson. I heard a story of a man who made a mistake in business, costing his company several hundred-thousand dollars. He was sure he would be fired, but the boss said NO, he would not be fired. He explained to the man that he did not "spend" all that money training him so he could leave and work for the competition. None of us is perfect, even police officers. Wouldn't it be nice to have some seasoned cops who have made a few mistakes along the way, paid the price, but didn't lose their jobs? I think so. Punishment, yes. Loss of job....maybe not. So, yes, I'd be willing to give Mr. Head an opportunity to patrol my neighborhood. I hope he hires a good attorney and fights to keep his POST certification. He who is "without sin" gets to cast the first stone. There are several on here who think they are perfect. I guess this old grandma has just lived a long time and seen a lot. I have gotten a bit more forgiving in my old age. Could have been my son or grandson! I would want them to receive some understanding and forgiveness if they were in Mr. Head's shoes. Just for the record, I have never met nor heard of this young man. He may really not deserve to keep his job.
Kat June 08, 2014 at 01:05 PM
Maria, Gwinnett PD is losing officers to other agencies that pay more. They recently had a job fair. This is a public safety issue and I for one don't want someone guessing that an officer won't make a second mistake. That is why they have standards. Gwinnett County LE agencies and our DA show no favoritism to LEO's. If you remember the Duluth PD had an off duty officer that was so intoxicated he didn't know what he was doing and shot a citizen and a DeKalb officer that stopped to help. That officer is now in prison for 60 + years. I knew him. He was a very nice person, but that doesn't change the fact that he should not have been in LE. There are stories that Duluth was aware he had issues and he was reprimanded but allowed to continue working. Now his son will only see him during prison visits and the Dekalb officer can't work in LE (other than administrative) because of his injuries. LE has to be held to a higher standard because they are responsible for public safety.
Maria A. June 09, 2014 at 11:03 AM
Kat, very informative. If DeKalb had done something to discipline the officer, he may not be in prison now! Wow! Before they fire an officer for having a problem, some kind of internal discipline needs to take place. You have to wonder if DeKalb / Gwinnett have done that. My point was that if we want officers who have "never sinned", so to speak, well, we can only hire Jesus! All of us have problems, some worse than others. We do want good officers, just like we want good judges, teachers, attorneys, doctors, etc. Young people do not have a course in school that addresses how their actions can affect their careers. I say school, since many parents don't seem to teach ethics to their children, and for those who do teach ethics, some of the children just don't listen. Been there, done that. Thanks for your insight. Very good.
Patricia Jackson July 02, 2014 at 11:18 AM
He will now go to another county and do the same thing! He resigned instead of being fired as he should have been! WOW

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