Former sheriff's reserve deputy arrested for impersonating a cop

Joshua Welch (Source: Columbus Police Department)
Joshua Welch (Source: Columbus Police Department)

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  A former sheriff's reserve deputy is in the Muscogee County Jail after impersonating an officer Monday morning.

Columbus police reports show 26-year-old Joshua Welch was part of a rowdy group of men at Steak and Shake at Bradley Park Drive around 5 o'clock Monday morning.

The men were reportedly mixing alcoholic drinks at their table, offending and cursing at employees, and telling racist jokes.

One of the store's managers threatened to call police at which point Welch pulled out a badge from the Russell County Sheriff's Department.

Once Columbus police officers arrived to the scene, they called Russell County and found out Welch had been formally terminated a year ago as a reserve deputy, and the department had been trying to get that badge back from him.

Officers found an assault-style rifle, loaded with 23 rounds, sitting in plain view in the front of Welch's truck. They also discovered several police radios that Welch claimed he needed since he was a volunteer firefighter.

Joshua Welch was arrested and charged with impersonating a police officer. He will appear in Recorder's Court Tuesday morning.

The other two men with Welch at the restaurant, Blake Gunter and Justin Tracy, were charged with simple assault.

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