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Dawson County Sheriffs veteran fired after she was found intoxicated in car at south Forsyth mall

SOUTH FORSYTH — A longtime Dawson County Sheriff’s employee was fired Tuesday, hours after Forsyth County authorities reportedly found her asleep and intoxicated while in uniform inside a car parked behind a local movie theater.

Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle declined to comment on the situation, saying only that Laura Ann Bishop, 53, had been terminated after he was notified of the situation.

According to a Forsyth County Sheriff’s report, Bishop was awakened about 9 a.m. Tuesday outside the AMC at The Collections off Peachtree Parkway, where she had reportedly backed her personal vehicle partly into the bushes.

When the deputy approached the car, Bishop was wearing a Dawson County Sheriff’s polo shirt and had covered herself with a black jacket that had a reflective flap reading “sheriff.”

The keys were not in the ignition, so Bishop was not arrested or charged with any crimes. She did, however, give a breath sample that showed a blood alcohol level of .104, according to the report.

After initially saying she had not consumed any alcoholic beverages, the report noted that Bishop admitted to having “had a lot of alcohol” the night before, with her last drink coming about 4 a.m.

She apparently refused to give a breath sample at first, leading the deputy to summon a Dawson County Sheriff’s supervisor to the scene.

The sample was eventually given as they waited for a major and lieutenant to arrive.

Bishop told Forsyth deputies that she was supposed to have unlocked the doors at the nearby campus of Lanier Technical College at 7:30 a.m. and then work security there until 5 p.m.

Also while they were waiting, Bishop reportedly handed over a half-empty half-gallon bottle of Bacardi rum “that was ice cold. The rum was in a white plastic bag that also contained a shot glass.”

Her agency-issued gun was found in the vehicle, which was turned over to the Dawson supervisors, along with her jacket and “all other sheriff’s office-related items.” Bishop was sent home with a friend.

According to a previous article in the Dawson Community News, Bishop had been employed with the sheriff’s office since 1997.

She began her Dawson law enforcement career as a 911 communications officer. Most recently assigned to the detention center in Dawsonville, she also had previously worked with the patrol and criminal investigations divisions.

She is also an Air Force veteran, having served 10 years in the 1980s and early ’90s.


Michele Hester of the FCN regional staff contributed to this report.