BRPD holds news conference on recent turmoil within narcotics division; arrested officer faces new charges
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Top officials with the Baton Rouge Police Department held a news conference to address recent turmoil within the department’s narcotics division on Monday, May 17.
In March, four high-ranking detectives were pulled from BRPD’s narcotics division and reassigned to other divisions within the department.
The four supervisors who were reassigned to uniform patrol include Sgt. Drew White, Lt. Jeff Pittman, Sgt. Shane Mouch, and Sgt. Seth Sinclair, The Advocate newspaper reported. None of the four supervisors have been accused of any wrongdoing.
The reassignments came several weeks after two other officers who worked in that same division were arrested.
Cpl. Jeremiah Ardoin was arrested for allegedly purchasing stolen electronics. The Advocate newspaper reported that Ardoin tipped off investigators that another person in the narcotics division should be investigated.
That tip led to the arrest of Cpl. Jason Acree, who is accused of stealing drugs that were seized as evidence.
Police Chief Murphy Paul announced Monday, that an arrest warrant had been issued for Acree on new charges of perjury, falsifying public records, and forgery.
Shortly after the arrests and reassignments, attorneys with the East Baton Rouge Office of the Public Defender said they were reviewing all pending cases involving BRPD’s narcotics division and are pursuing litigation on behalf of those clients.
“We are also concerned for the men, women, and children with criminal convictions where the narcotics division was involved and are now dealing with the collateral consequences of a drug conviction that may be preventing those citizens from obtaining employment, housing, or education opportunities” attorneys with the OPDBR said in a statement.
Later in March, Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore dropped charges against any defendant whose pending cases are linked to the two officers within the BRPD narcotics division. The number of cases stands at 640 cases.
In April, East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome issued a statement saying the situation was “concerning to say the least.”
“If the investigation determines the allegations are true, then those responsible for wrongdoing must be held accountable. Since my time as Mayor, I have worked hard to build public trust with the Baton Rouge Police Department. I have instituted policies to improve accountability and transparency in order to close the gap between our community and law enforcement. Much of the resistance and pushback that has been publicly shown by a select few has been due to the implementation of these principles. Yet, we now see those principles at work in this case and will communicate the findings of this investigation once it is complete,” Mayor Broome said.
WAFB’s Scottie Hunter will have a full report on this story on 9News at 6.
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