Embattled Police Chief Turns in His Badge

The Defuniak Springs police chief was ordered to pay fines and costs of 300 dollars for trying to falsify records to help an ex-sheriff's deputy avoid taking a state law enforcement recertification test.

Ray Burgess resigned Thursday from his elected post and turned himself in to Walton County authorities after state prosecutors charged him with the first-degree misdemeanor.

He could have faced a year in jail.

Okaloosa County Judge James Ward also withheld adjudication, meaning Burgess will not have a criminal record. The case was assigned to Ward to avoid potential conflict of interest by Walton judges who handle local police cases.

In a written statement, Burgess maintained his innocence but said he entered the no-contest plea to avoid risking the loss of his retirement benefits. He served 24 years with the Defuniak Springs police, the last eight as chief.