Archive for the ‘Lincoln Parish Sheriff’ Category

Sheriff Agrees to Payback Agreement on New Jail Construction

07/11/2018

Lincoln Parish Sheriff Mike Stone agreed at last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) to language guaranteeing repayment to the jury the cost of constructing a $2.75 million addition to the parish jail. That money would come from the detention center operating budget, which Stone controls.

Said Stone, “We know we have obligations, and we’re sure going to meet that to the best we can as long as I’m there. I don’t mind adding that on as an addendum to the legislation, or whatever.”

Stone’s remarks came in response to a series of questions from District Six Juror Walter Pullen.

Pullen asked who would be responsible for repayment, and expressed concern that jury needed formal assurance for that repayment.

Said Pullen, “We need to have something in writing that contractually obligates the Detention Center Commission to service the indebtedness to the best of their ability.”

District Nine Juror Joe Henderson, who also serves as the Detention Center Commission Chair, also agreed to those terms.

Henderson, “We have to understand and know that’s all going to be covered in the contract.”
Pullen: “But we need to make sure all that’s understood and in writing before we sign the contract.”
Henderson: “I know, but we’re going to make sure.”

The new ten thousand sq ft jail addition would create about 100 new spaces to house inmates, and would prevent having to house overflow prisoners at other local jails in adjoining parishes. When that condition occurs, the Lincoln jail must pay the housing costs to the other jails.

Several comments were made that suggested that the state legislation from 1982 that created the Commission already provided for repayment of the debt.

However, LA RS 15:848 et seq, the legislation from 1982 that created the commission has no such provision. That law only states that the commission is obliged to “operate and maintain” the jail.

The commission has a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the Sheriff’s Office to furnish manpower for the jail. The Sheriff also controls the money that operates the jail, provides medical care, and feeds the prisoners

That agreement, at present, has no language in at all allowing debt obligations, or repayment of any debt.

Pullen also asked Stone if he were running for reelection, but Stone declined to say. Pullen said it was a legitimate question, because if any agreement were made with the sheriff as the operator of the jail, it could not enforceable beyond his existing term.

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Preliminary Approval for LPPJ to Borrow on Jail Addition

06/28/2018

The U. S. Department of Agriculture has given preliminary approval for the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) to apply for a loan to build a 10 thousand sq ft, $3 million addition to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center, it was told at yesterday’s meeting of the Detention Center Commission.

See here the document.

The next step is for a public hearing on the proposal, which is tentatively scheduled for the 7/10/18 meeting of the jury.

While the jury is legally obligated to pay off any loan, Lincoln Parish Sheriff Mike Stone has repeatedly said that the jury will be reimbursed from savings that the new building will accumulate. Presently, many prisoners are housed in adjacent parish jails, and Lincoln Parish must pay for their upkeep.

The jail houses about 100 state prisoners, and is paid about $24 each per day for upkeep. That money is a significant part of the revenue for jail operation.

It is unclear what kind of formal written agreement there will be between the jury and the sheriff for repayment of any loan, or even if there will be such an agreement other than verbal.

One other notable piece of news from Stone is that Major Chad Alexander has been assigned to the jail to assist Warden Jim Tuten.

$12 Thousand/Yr Sheriff Pay Raise Signed into Law

05/18/2018

A bill that will give Louisiana Sheriffs an average pay raise of $12,750/year was signed into law last week by Governor Bel Edwards, and will become effective 8/1/2018. The raises will be effective July 1, 2020

See here Act 123.

To qualify for the higher pay, a sheriff must have graduated from the FBI Acadamy, or have an associate or bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, or have 20 years experience in law enforcement or the military. Any one of the requirements will qualify the individual.

According to the fiscal note from the Legislative Auditor, the average base pay of Louisiana sheriffs today is $161,599/yr, and the average annual retirement contribution is $20,604.

See here the document.

Sumlin Case no Closer to Resolution

05/16/2018

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 September 18.

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.

Sumlin’s health appears to have declined in the three years since his arrest, and he limped noticeably as he left court.

He has been free on bond since his arrest.

Detention Center/Delta Community College to Team Up

05/04/2018

Louisiana Delta Community College and the Lincoln Parish Detention Center will soon be partnering to provide training programs for inmates, it was revealed at last Thursday’s meeting of the Detention Center Commission.

Warden Jim Tuten told the commission that the program would likely start in late summer, and would train qualified inmates vocational skills so that they would be employable after release.

Said Tuten, “The programs are going to benefit us, since it would stabilize our DOC (Department of Corrections) population. Delta Community College would help finance the program.”

He added, “We’re trying to get some programs for them (the inmates), and this is one of them that we’re trying to do to help them to get a job when they get out and hopefully not come back.”

About thirty inmates would qualify for the program, Tuten said.

See here the memo from Delta.

Trial for Mays, Accomplices Delayed Until October

04/23/2018

The trial of accused murderer Cameron Mays and his alleged accomplices – Brandon Bonton, Markeva Daye, and Robert Demps – was delayed until October 29, 2018, after a joint prosecution/defense motion for the delay was filed Friday morning in Third Judicial District (Lincoln, Union Parishes) Court in Ruston.

The trial had been set for this morning. No reason was stated in court for the motion.

Mays is charged with a June, 2012 crime spree that resulted in the murder 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.

Among Bonton’s charges are theft, accessory to burglary, accessory to murder 2nd and drug possession.

Daye and Demps are both charged with accessory to murder 2nd, accessory to burglary, drug possession, and possession of stolen things.

Mays was not in court, nor was his attorney, James Buckley. Appearing for the prosecution was Assistant Attorney General Madeleine Slaughter-Young.

Representing Bonton was Monroe attorney Bob Noel, who was not present. Daye and Demps were represented by Ruston attorney Forrest Moegele, who was present in court.

Presiding was Division B Judge Tommy Rogers.

Sumlin Case Stumbles Along

03/28/2018

Former State Representative William Sumlin’s three-year old charge of indecent behavior with juvenile(s) is no closer to resolution after yesterday’s hearing was reset to May 15.

There was a bit of discussion after Third Judicial District Judge Tommy Rogers suggested they make sure no trial date was pending before setting a new hearing date.

Sumlin’s attorney, LaValle Salomon, said he had no trial date listed in his notes, and said there were several motions yet to be disposed of.

Assistant District Attorney Steve Hearn, in consulting his records, noted that there was an October trial date. He then realized that the date was “last October.”

LPNO readers will recall the phenomenon, as yet unexplained, of the trial date that simply vanished from the court docket.

Sumlin Trial Date Vanishes?

7% Pay Raise for Louisiana Sheriffs Flying Through Legislature

03/26/2018

A bill that would grant Louisiana Sheriffs a seven percent pay raise has overwhelmingly passed the Louisiana House of Representatives and is awaiting action in the Senate.

House Bill 218, by Monroe Representative Katrina Jackson would:

Allow elected sheriffs to receive a nontransferble 7% salary increase for participation in the La. Sheriffs’ Certification Program. Participation requirements and eligibility include the completion of training, certification, or education requirements or the attainment of law enforcement experience.

Among the requirements of certification is any one of the following:

A certificate of graduation from the FBI National Academy at Quantico, Virginia.

An associate or bachelor’s degree from a regional accredited institution of higher education as recognized by the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Executive Management Institute Board.

A masters degree or juris doctor from a regional, accredited institution of higher education as recognized by the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Executive Management Institute Board.

Twenty years of law enforcement, military, or corrections officer experience as recognized by the Louisiana Peace Officer Standards and Training Council or the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.

The bill passed the House on a 79-9 vote last Thursday, March 22. Lincoln Parish Representative Rob Shadoin voted FOR the bill.

If passed by the Senate and signed by the Governor, it would become effective July, 2020.

Bonton Trial Reset for April

02/20/2018

Brandon Bonton, an alleged accomplice in the murder of retired Grambling State University Professor Sue Hashway, had his 2/26 trial date reset to 4/23/18 this morning in Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court in Ruston.

He is charged with accessory to 2nd degree murder, accessory to burglary, possession of stolen things, theft of a firearm, and possession of controlled dangerous substances.

Bonton allegedly aided Cameron Mays in the June, 2012, crime at Hashway’s home on Paynter Drive in Ruston.

Bonton’s attorney, Bob Noel of Monroe, said that he was “not anticipating” a trial, implying that some kind of plea deal was in the works, perhaps in exchange for Bonton’s testimony.

Mays’ trial is set for next week.

Markeva Daye and Robert Demps – who testified against Cameron Mays in his April, 2016 trial for aggravated kidnapping and rape – are scheduled for a court appearance this afternoon.

Presiding this morning was Division B Judge Tommy Rogers.

DeSoto Parish LACE Program Corruption

01/19/2018

DeSoto probe: Too much time and a half?

By Vickie Welborn – KTBS TV3 Shreveport

Three current DeSoto Parish sheriff’s deputies and one former deputy are under investigation for suspected abuse of overtime pay as part of their participation in a special traffic-enforcement detail.

The investigation is looking into whether they got paid for hours they didn’t work.

DeSoto Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle placed the veteran deputies on paid administrative leave this week.

They are the subjects of an internal investigation, as well as a criminal investigation that will be led by State Police. Arbuckle said he expects State Police investigators to begin their investigation next week.

Louisiana’s legislative auditor is also conducting an investigative audit into the LACE program in DeSoto Parish. Preliminary findings from that audit led to the law enforcement investigations, Arbuckle said.

LACE — or Local Agency Compensation Enforcement — is also under fire on a statewide basis as separate investigations focus on state troopers in South Louisiana who are suspected of padding their paychecks. Three troopers have been identified as subjects of that investigation. One made more than $200,000.

State auditors have been in DeSoto Parish looking at the LACE participation of several agencies that benefit from the program: the Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s office, Parish Police Jury and the criminal court system.

KTBS-3 Investigates has aired several reports about LACE over the past year. Questions arose earlier last year because of a disagreement about LACE administration and the use of DA diversion programs in DeSoto Parish. District Attorney Gary Evans took over complete control of the LACE program in the parish and has been diverting most of the ticket revenue to his office.

Prior to that, ticket money from the LACE program was divvied up among 14 agencies. Evans complained the program was losing money and instead wanted to control where the money goes.

Arbuckle pulled his deputies off LACE details, leaving it to State Police troopers. Evans also signed a contract with the Mansfield Police Department.

The Police Jury last fall adopted a resolution formally asking the legislative auditor to conduct a review of the entire program. Part of that review includes verifying the hours deputies worked writing LACE tickets.

The three deputies under investigation are suspected of claiming more hours than they actually worked. The fourth person no longer works for the sheriff’s office.

LACE is a program administered by district attorneys who contract with local law enforcement agencies to focus on creating safer highways by focusing on speeders and other traffic violators.

But it also became a lucrative way for law enforcement officers to add to their paychecks through overtime pay. DeSoto deputies were paid $45 per hour to work their off-duty shifts.

State troopers benefit, too, earning time-and-a-half for their LACE work. Some of the deputies were making $20,000 or more above their regular salaries. But the troopers under the microscope in South Louisiana were racking up more, with one making an annual salary of more than $200,000 with much of it coming from LACE for hours he didn’t work.

LACE operated for decades without drawing much attention, but it has come under additional scrutiny in recent months as some district attorneys learned the program was being administered in different ways, with some using it to bolster their office revenue through ticket diversion programs.

The state’s district attorneys association has been studying those diversion programs – and in some cases how it is connected with LACE — and are working toward suggested guidance to make sure all conform with state law. The sheriffs’ association also has been doing its own review.