Archive for the ‘Lincoln Parish Sheriff’ Category

Speculation Rampant on Lincoln Sheriff Plans

01/24/2019

The local political gossip has gone into high gear this week, after word got out that Lincoln Parish Sheriff Mike Stone had called an “all hands on deck” meeting of all deputies, including the Sheriff’s Citizen Observer Patrol (SCOP) for this afternoon.

Informed speculation is that Stone may announce his retirement and leave office at the end of the current term, which ends June 30, 2020. Stone took office on June 30, 2004.

Elections are set for this fall, with the primary on Saturday, October 12, 2019. If a runoff is needed, the election will be Saturday, November 16.

If Stone retires, expect his Chief Criminal Deputy Stephen Williams to throw his hat into the ring, with Stone’s blessing.

Regardless of what Stone does, there WILL be a race for sheriff this fall.

Running hard for the past year is former deputy George Webb.

LPNO readers will recall that Webb’s sister, Becky, ran a very strong race for Lincoln Parish Tax Assessor in 2011, receiving 45% of the vote.

Local political observers have noted that Webb is working the parish non-stop, and never fails to shake every hand anyplace a crowd is gathered.

Also running is former Ruston Police Chief Randal Hermes.

Hermes now serves as Chief of the Louisiana Tech University Police.

Update – 7:40 PM

As expected, Lincoln Parish Sheriff Mike Stone announced today that he would not be seeking re-election this fall, LPNO has learned.

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Someone’s Not Being Truthful about Lincoln Parish School Resource Officers

12/14/2018

There are questions regarding the Lincoln Parish School Resource Officers (SRO) Program that need to be answered prior to any vote for additional taxes.

Specifically, taxpayers need to know which of the district’s schools now have an SRO assigned to them, and what agency has ownership of the program.

Here’s what’s posted on the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s website:

School Resource Officer

Deputies in the Juvenile Division are certified as an SRO. Deputies are assigned a school that they work at to provide security and safety for the students, faculty and staff. The SRO’s work during the school day as well as school sponsored events. The Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office currently has SRO’s assigned to all parish schools from Elementary to High School.

From Sheriff Mike Stone’s 4/8/15 re-election announcement:

“We’ve always been prudent and good stewards of the public’s money,” Stone said. “From putting School Resource Officers in our schools to adding an elderly protection officer and implementing the ‘How are You’ program to check on our seniors, we’ve been able to offer the services that help make Lincoln Parish a safe environment to live, work and raise families.”

In a 1/27/12 press release asking voters to approve a 1/4 cent sales tax increase, Stone said this:

“When we took office eight years ago, we promised several things,” Stone said. “More patrol and visibility on the street, adding an additional investigator, strengthening our drug interdiction (LPNET) and elderly protection (TRIAD) programs, putting an SRO officer in every school, improving litter abatement and animal control, and adding special patrol deputies (SCAT and CAP).”

“We feel we’ve delivered on our promises and have been good stewards of the public’s money, and we ask for your trust that we will continue to do so.”

It is clear that Stone has claimed ownership of the School Resource Officer program ever since he’s been in office. Nothing has ever been said by the Sheriff’s Office that indicates the school district should pay for the program.

But at last week’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board, District Superintendent Mike Milstead said that only half the district’s schools had SROs assigned to them, and that the additional officers would have to be paid for by a new property tax.

Said Milstead, “One of the main components, and the original main thrust of this was for the safety of our children. Every one of our schools should have a School Resource Officer. Right now, thanks to the generosity of the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Department and a grant they have, seven of the schools have full-time School Resource Officers. But that means seven do not. We as a district need to everything we can to make it possible for our kids to have a safe learning environment.”

Clearly, Milstead is claiming that the primary need for new taxes is based on the safety of schoolchildren.

So which is it?

Do all Lincoln Parish Schools have SROs, or not? Or has Stone not fulfilled his promises to protect “all parish schools from Elementary to High School?”

And, if the cost of the SRO program must now be borne by the school district, when did that shift occur? Stone indicated in 2012 that part of the reason for a new tax was to help pay for the SRO program.

Or is the children safety issue being used to frighten taxpayers into supporting another tax increase, while most of the money goes elsewhere?

Detention Center Commission Adopts Budgets

12/13/2018

2019 and 2018 (amended) budgets for the Lincoln Parish Detention Center were adopted at yesterday’s meeting of the commission that runs the jail.

The 2018 budget was amended to show $4.06 million in revenues and expenditures.

The 2019 budget predicts $6.87 million in revenues and $6.83 million in expenditures. The jump reflects the expected cost of the new 100 bed wing that is in the planning stage.

See here the documents:

2018 amended
2019 proposed

There was a bit of discussion about what effect a new law would have on jail operations, where next year 17-year olds charged with a crime will be treated as juveniles, rather than adults. Juveniles must be incarcerated in facilities separate from adult prisoners.

Also, jail Warden Jim Tuten announced that Chad Alexander had been promoted to Assitant Warden at the jail, effective December 7.

Said Tuten, “He brings a lot of experience with him, and I’m glad to have him over there with me.”

Mays Rejects Plea Offer

11/20/2018

Cameron Mays has rejected an offer by prosecutors to plead guilty to Second Degree Murder.

Mays, along with his attorney Kia Richardson, was in Third Judicial District Court in Ruston this morning.

The offer included a life sentence that would run concurrently with the life sentence that Mays is now serving, after he was convicted in April, 2016 of aggravated rape. Also, the offer included dropping other charges against him.

As a result, Mays is now set to go to trial at 9:00 AM, 2/25/19.

He allegedly killed retired Grambling Professor Susan Hashway in her Paynter Drive home in June of 2012.

Appearing for the prosecution was Assistant Attorney General Michele Thompson.

Presiding was Division B Judge Tommy Rogers.

Detention Center 2019 Budget Proposed

11/11/2018

Friday’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Detention Center Commission saw two budget documents proposed and discussed – the 2018 amended budget, and the 2019 proposed budget. Both will be considered for approval in a upcoming meeting before year-end.

2018 amended budget
2019 proposed budget

For 2018, revenues were slightly better than originally projected, $4.26 million vs $4.22 million.

Expenditures were slightly lower than projected, coming in at $4.1 million vs $4.29 originally projected.

2019 revenues are projected at $6.87 million, with expenditures predicted to be $6.83 million.

The jump in revenues and expenses for 2019 is due to the $2.5 million cost of the jail addition. On the revenue side it was shown under a line item labeled USDA loan. In the expenditures, it was shown as capital outlay.

However, no expenditure line item was shown for any repayment of loan principal and interest back to the Lincoln Parish Police Jury, the entity actually borrowing the $2.5 million.

Sheriff Mike Stone has said on numerous occasions that he will repay the jury in full for the loan. At a recent jury meeting, juror Walter Pullen said he would like to see a signed agreement from the sheriff regarding the loan.

When questioned about the line item, it was said that the repayment would be included in the amended 2019 budget that will be presented later next year.

We will question the jury’s finance committee at the upcoming meeting to determine where that repayment money will show up on its budget documents.

We were disappointed that no jury members were at the meeting, save Joe Henderson, who chairs the commission.

Ammonia Pipeline Update

09/21/2018

Lincoln Parish Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness For Information, Contact Kip Franklin, Director at 318-251-6454 or kfranklin@lincolnparish.org

Lincoln Parish, Ammonia Pipeline Leak

Lincoln Parish – September 21, 2018, 2:00 pm

Reporting on the Ammonia Pipeline Incident in Lincoln Parish. Louisiana

The State Police Emergency Services Division and Department of Environmental Quality personnel have cleared the incident scene at the ammonia pipeline. NuStar Pipeline officials continue making progress on repairs to the pipeline with hopes of completing the work on Saturday.

State police patrol units will keep La. Hwy. 822 closed from Bartlett Road to La. Hwy. 33 through the night and then open the road to through traffic at 8 am on Saturday morning, September 22nd.

Access to this section of La. Hwy. 822 is for LOCAL RESIDENTS ONLY, and no traffic will be allowed through the immediate work site until the road is opened on Saturday morning at 8 am. Lincoln Parish School Bus traffic will resume their routine routes on Monday, September 24th.

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Repeat: Sumlin Case no Closer to Resolution

09/19/2018

Former State Representative William Sumlin was in Third Judicial District Court yesterday afternoon in Ruston, but once again, a hearing on pending motions was delayed until November 20.

Sumlin was arrested in October, 2015 on a charge of indecent behavior with juvenile(s).

Presiding was Division B Judge Tommy Rogers.

LaValle Salomon represented Sumlin in court yesterday, and
Assistant District Attorney Lewis Jones appeared for the state.

Salomon arrived in court at 2:30 PM, but his two cases weren’t heard until after 5 PM, immediately after a 45 minute recess.

Mays Murder Trial Reset for Next February

08/29/2018

The trial of accused murderer Cameron Mays was reset for Monday, February 25, 2019 to allow a new defense attorney to familiarize himself with the case. The joint defense/prosecution motion was approved in Third Judicial District (Lincoln, Union Parishes) Court in Ruston yesterday morning.

Indigent Defender Dwyane Burrell will be defending, alongside Kia Richardson.

Mays is charged with a June, 2012 crime spree that resulted in the death of retired Grambling State University Professor Dr. Sue Hashway, and the aggravated rape and kidnapping of a Louisiana Tech University co-ed.

Mays was convicted in April, 2016 of kidnapping, aggravated rape, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Mays was not in court. Appearing for the prosecution was Assistant Attorney General Madeleine Slaughter-Young.

Presiding was Division B Judge Tommy Rogers.

More LACE Woes

08/25/2018

DPSO sheriff, deputies agree to hand over files but auditors continue court battle

Vickie Welborn – KTBS TV3 Shreveport

The DeSoto Parish sheriff weeks ago said he and nine current and former employees are making their personnel files available to state auditors who are reviewing allegations of abuse in a program where law officers moonlight doing traffic enforcement. But that has not stopped a court battle.

The Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office has asked the state Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling that ruled any future court disputes should be decided in DeSoto Parish, not East Baton Rouge Parish, where auditors work. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal earlier this month declined to hear an appeal from the auditors.

The files are in dispute in connection with an investigation being conducted by state auditors into a ticket-writing program called LACE, or Local Agency Compensation Enforcement, where the state pays deputies overtime to do traffic enforcement. Some deputies have been caught padding their overtime.

State auditors have been in DeSoto Parish off-and-on since late last year looking at the LACE participation of several agencies that benefit from the program.

Suspected LACE abuses occurred during the administration of DeSoto Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle, who resigned earlier this year. Arbuckle discontinued his deputies’ participation in the LACE in the spring of 2017 after District Attorney Gary Evans assumed administration of the program and began diverting revenue from tickets to his office and away from other public entities.

LPPJ to Apply for Jail Construction Loan

08/16/2018

The Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) voted Tuesday night to proceed in borrowing about $2.7 million to construct a 100-bed addition to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center, but not before more discussion on how the Lincoln Parish Sheriff would reimburse the jury. The sheriff operates the jail under the direction of the Lincoln Parish Detention Center Commission. That agency is made up of the sheriff, the district attorney, the Ruston PD chief, and two police jurors.

Walter Pullen (District 6) argued again that there needed to be some sort of written agreement between the jury and the detention center commission. Last month he had said the agreement should be with the sheriff, but since there may be a new sheriff next year, any agreement with Mike Stone couldn’t last beyond his term.

Said Pullen, “I still have the same concern today, that I had last month. We need a contractual obligation either with the detention center commission – which we have two of the five seats – or with whoever will be running the detention center, that paying the loan – we need in writing that’s the first call on paying the loan. If we don’t get that, I won’t vote for this plan.”

There are several more steps before actual construction can begin. Detailed architectural plans must be drawn, bids solicited, and a contractor selected.

Approval was also granted to engage The Grey Knight Group to help administer the loan application process. The cost was estimated at 1% of total project cost.

The jury also set the property tax rates for 2018, which will be the same as the 2017 rates, save a .20 mil reduction in the Lincoln Parish Library’s equipment and furniture levy.

See here the ordinances.