LIVINGSTON PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard stood before a room of reporters Wednesday to answer questions surrounding the recent arrest of Dennis Perkins, a former high-ranking deputy and head of a Livingston Parish SWAT team.
Ard began by addressing allegations made against Perkins in 2013. According to Ard, an officer came to him very upset about a possible affair between Perkins and his wife. The officer accused Perkins of inappropriately touching his 14-year-old stepdaughter. Despite the officer not wanting to make a formal complaint, Ard says he took it upon himself to question Perkins about the accusations. Perkins denied the accusations.
LSP was made aware of the 2013 accusations by a third party. Ard says he spoke to LSP and the two departments agreed nothing criminal had occurred. Because of this, there was no formal investigation launched.
“At the end of the day, there is no crime committed, therefore nobody is going to be arrested," Ard said. “All law enforcement officers know one thing, and one thing for a fact; if you don’t write it down, it didn’t happen. He should be ashamed of himself for not reporting that."
Ard says the focus should be on the child pornography and rape charges Perkins and his wife are now facing.
“This thing has gotten refocused on something else that we shouldn’t be focused on. We should be focused on these victims and the crime that has already occurred," Ard said. “You can’t take action on a crime that had not occurred. There was no crime.”
It seemed as though the finger had been pointed at Ard and his office for not taking action sooner.
“I would’ve loved to put Dennis Perkins in jail a long time ago if anybody would’ve known. I ask myself every day, ‘how did this happen?’" Ard said. “We don’t know. And if we did it wouldn’t have happened, but, unfortunately, it did and it is disgraceful that this guy would something so unthinkable to these kids."
Ard stood by the fact that previous allegations and undocumented complaints had “nothing to do with the crime that has occurred.” Ard says he never turned a blind eye to the complaints. He claims he followed through as diligently as he could.
“I’ve never turned a blind eye. I have worked at this office for 28 years. I’ve put more than my share of police officers in jail, and I have used this same comment; It is a sad day when you [put an officer in jail] because when you do that, you’re putting someone in jail that you uphold to a high standard - a very high standard,” Ard said. “When you get betrayed by that person, it hurts. You have an office that hurts."
“This guy betrayed us. He’s not supposed to do these kinds of things. He’s supposed to be trusted in our community.”
Ard says there is nothing in Perkins’ personnel and internal files except for promotions. Those files will be released Wednesday.
Ard was asked what he would say to the families and the victims in the alleged crimes committed by Perkins and his wife, who both face 60 counts of child pornography.
“My heart goes out to them. I’m a father and I can’t even begin to imagine what they must be going through. This is a very hurtful situation for them and it’s my job as the sheriff to make sure that we do everything we can to assist the attorney general - which we have been and will continue to do - to make sure that Dennis Perkins and his wife get what they got coming to them,” Ard said. “This is a monstrous act. A monstrous act that they would do upon these kids what they have done.”
“At the end of the day, that’s my job as sheriff to help these victims get justice, and it will be done.” Ard reiterated. “It will be done.”
When asked if he had anything to say to Dennis Perkins, Ard replied sternly: “I don’t want to talk to Dennis Perkins right now, and I have nothing to say to him.”
Ard says he was able to see enough evidence from the attorney general’s file to know that Perkins needed to be terminated and jailed immediately.
“Everybody that works for me usually is a friend and they are considered an LPSO family member, and [Perkins] was," Ard concluded. “But he betrayed us. He is a criminal. He did criminal acts. I have a relationship with all of my deputies. This is a time of betrayal to my office. This is someone we had high respect for - high regards for. He wouldn’t have been where he was at - he was a lieutenant in my office, he was someone that not only me, but a lot of people in the community trusted.”
“This guy was a friend, and right now, he is a criminal.”