Tonight, KALB reported that a number of employees in the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Department are being used to fight a political battle in the race for sheriff. Michele Godard, KALB’s news director, conducted a series of interviews with detectives and deputies (the deputies’ voices and identities were disguised because they were apparently fearful of the repercussions).

Chief Detective Herman Walters tells Godard: “Some of the office personnel just want to come (to work), do their job, go home to their families, and forget about politics, but that’s almost impossible now. We’ve been doing it for a year… a year and a half. And people are tired of it. Not only employees. People are tired of all the rumors, all the allegations, all of the threats and the things of this nature. It certainly needs to stop.”

Godard also interviews two deputies (though their names and faces are not revealed) who report being intimidated and threatened to sign a petition in favor of candidate Mike Slocum and donate ten dollars toward his campaign. Godard explains, “News Channel Five also conducted secret interviews with sheriff’s department employees who feel so threatened about the day-to-day politics, they need to hide their identities.”

Deputy #1: “I was approached by one of my supervisors, and he told me that I needed to sign it (the petition in support of Slocum), and I asked him what it was. And he told me it was a list that (sp) everybody’s supporting Slocum. I was advised that if I didn’t sign it, I might as well just forget about my career at the Sheriff’s Office.”

Deputy #2: (Godard asked this person whether or not someone told them that if they did not sign the petition, they would lose their job): “They’re not telling us to sign it, but the way they’re asking us to is just read it, sign it, and give us $10 for his campaign.”

Godard then asks Deputy #2, “What do you think is going to happen to people who say no?”

Deputy #2 responds: “I think we’ll… we’ll either be transferred to another division where we don’t want to be put or eventually fired.”

Mike Slocum tells Godard these claims are “absolutely ridiculous” and states that all of his campaigning is on tape (what? how?) and that he has never said anyone would be fired.

The two men who are apparently “responsible for the list,” RPSO Detective Bobby Sandoval and RPSO Detective Adrian Lamkin claim the petition is all-voluntary. Amazingly, Sandoval claims the only reason people are coming forward is to “kill the ad” for political reasons.

Godard asks yet another disguised deputy (Deputy #3) what he thinks the public’s reaction will be when they find out what has been going on in the Sheriff’s Department.

Deputy #3: “A whole lot of them (the public) are going to feel that way (that this is merely politics, and people need to get over it). A lot of them are not gonna be sure what to believe now. It’s going to confuse a lot of the voters, and for that, we do apologize. But we do want y’all to know what we are enduring as deputies. It started a year and a half ago, and especially now that there’s a run-off, it’s worse.”

The report seems to suggest that the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Department is currently overrun by politics and that many deputies DO feel threatened and intimidated by the Slocum campaign.

(Godard says there will be a follow-up report on Monday, which will include an interview with current Sheriff William Earl Hilton).

5 thoughts

  1. Let me just say this: What KALB did was basically help Wagner put out negative political crap that is not substantial. She failed to mention that Herman Walters is a SUPERIVSOR of the detectives division. He has been openly campaigning against Mr. Slocum since the beginning. Chuck Wagner’s BROTHER is a SUPERVISOR in the detectives division. KALB allowed “anonymous” individuals to basically go on the air and spread their dirty political tactics to the voters. They have no substantial evidence, only their word, which is hearsay. It is very easy to lie, when you’re anonymous!

    These “deputies” could very well be co-workers of Wagner’s brother, they could even be subordinates of Wagner’s brother; we have no way of knowing.

    You have also misquoted Mr. Slocum; he said that he has publicly stated many times during his campaign that nobody would be fired. I have actually heard him say this myself.

    Think of how easy a target Mr. Slocum is for this kind of attack: he is the current Major; he has the majority of support from his deputies. Those who want to smear his name and reputation see this as a good opportunity. But, there is NO SUBSTANTIAL evidence supporting these claims; only “anonymous” deputies’ words…and that is not good enough when making such a strong allegation.

  2. Nora,

    Really? This is the counter-argument to the report? That KALB is simply an arm of the Wagner campaign and that the entire report is based on hearsay?

    The individuals they interviewed were not “anonymous” people; their identities were concealed. There is a difference. And their claims are not hearsay; they are all speaking about their own experiences.

    That said, I agree Major Slocum makes an easy target due to his position. This is obviously a close race, and things are (unfortunately) getting ugly.

    By the way, I just saw Slocum’s newest commercial. It is quite good.

  3. Another thing, Nora. Please clarify your statement about Detective Walters and Chuck Wagner’s brother; it appears as if you are claiming that they are one in the same, and obviously, this is untrue.

    Also, I think it is prudent for me to point out that I have personally spoken with people in the department who have absolutely nothing to do with the Wagner campaign, and they have corroborated the claims made in the KALB report.

    I do not think it is instructive for us to kill the messenger, as it were.

    Instead of attempting to “out” the men who felt intimidated by these practices, Slocum supporters should be saying:

    “Major Slocum does not have any tolerance, whatsoever, for the politicking occurring in the RPSO. Major Slocum takes these claims very seriously and will be speaking with his supporters inside the department to ensure that the office is not used to conduct business on behalf of his campaign. He hopes the other candidate will do the same.”

    Instead, however, we’ve seen an attempt to discredit Mrs. Godard and essentially publish the identities of the men who came forward to make claims that many of us have been hearing for months now.

    This type of reactionary vindictiveness is not a good sign.

  4. My husband and I overheard Mr. Slocum say that “I will be the next Sheriff and that our plan is to let William Earl beat that punk (Wagner), and then I (Slocum) will be in charge. No way the punk can beat William Earl, it can’t be done. Too many people owe hiim, and too many people miss him. But I will be running the show, my friend you can count on that!” We have people on the inside who are going to go on record about how he is really running things. Believe me, William Earl owes it to me and he is going to deliver this time. I just can’t believe that punk got in last time, I think they had people voting twice. The punk is running out of money and he is going to have to lay off good deputies because he doesn’t understand the sheriff office and how to make it run. He has pissed off the wrong people, and just wait and see, I (Slocum) will be running things come 2012.

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