New allegations express concern for SJC officer accused of driving drunk

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ST. JOSEPH, COUNTY., --- St. Joseph County Police Officer Coty Hoffman was arrested over the weekend for allegedly driving his patrol car drunk. On Monday ABC57 spoke exclusively to Hoffman’s ex-girlfriend about his alleged excessive drinking throughout their relationship.

St. Joseph County Police Officer Coty Hoffman’s ex-girlfriend of nearly four years wanted to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation.

She says they broke up in May of 2022 because his drinking issues only got worse, and she recorded their arguments over it.

“After he graduated the police academy and started being on the road. It went from okay just a couple beers after work to like black out pass out on the couch every single night,” explained Hoffman’s ex-girlfriend.

She claimed Hoffman drove drunk in his county police patrol car on several occasions and she said he also got so intoxicated one time she had to drive the squad car for him and got a photo to prove it.

“His thing was who’s going to pull over a cop in their squad car. He’ll be fine. He would do that with me in the car, he would do that with the kids in the car, constantly. You know he would get drunk and drive in his squad car.”

The woman said in addition to driving his patrol car while drunk, Hoffman also pulled out his police issued weapon multiple times in her home after he had been drinking.

Back in March she said he accidentally fired a shot and the bullet nearly hit her.

“He was drunk and playing with his gun putting some kind of thing on the grip handle and fired off a round, and it was his gun given to him by the County and it barely missed my head,” she added.  “It almost killed me, and his son and my daughter were home.”

Hoffman’s ex said she filed a police report about the incident back in May and made multiple complaints to the department about his alleged excessive drinking, but she feels her claims weren’t taken seriously at the time.

“I called St. Joe County and South Bend, and they just made it a joke. They were laughing about it. They pretty much thought it was funny and they were like you’ll be fine," she explained. “I recorded it because no one believed me how bad it was getting.”

Hoffman’s ex said she’s relieved he was finally caught after crashing his squad car into a mailbox on Hickory Road over the weekend and she's glad no one got hurt.

“It sucks to see that it hasn’t gotten any better for him, but I mean you can’t do that without getting caught at some point. I’m happy it just a mailbox and not someone else or someone else’s kid,” she said. “If you carry a badge that doesn’t mean you’re above the law. You’re supposed to enforce it, including yourself.”

Officer Hoffman is currently facing misdemeanor "operating while intoxicated" charges.

He was also previously suspended and put on probation by the department over "excessive intoxication and impairment" while off-duty after an internal investigation back in July.

The St. Joseph County Police Department also sent ABC57 News this statement regarding Hoffman’s previous actions:

In May of this year, photographs of Hoffman in a state of undress & unconsciousness were provided to the department along with allegations of alcohol use while in uniform and on-duty. After the completion of an Internal Investigation and interviewing multiple witnesses, IA was unable to find sufficient proof to sustain those allegations. However, it was determined that Hoffman had violated department policy regarding excessive intoxication & impairment while off-duty and was in violation of policy for conduct unbecoming an officer. As a result of these violations, on July 25, 2022, Hoffman was suspended without pay for 3 days, ordered to alcohol counseling, and placed on probation for six months.

He has been suspended pending an internal investigation over Sunday’s incident.

His first court date is set for January 20.

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