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Lieutenant: Cop passed out on prescription and illegal drugs

4 years 5 days 5 hours ago Friday, November 14 2014 Nov 14, 2014 November 14, 2014 4:23 AM November 14, 2014 in The Investigative Unit
Source: WBRZ
By: Ryan Naquin

DENHAM SPRINGS - Thursday, the civil service commission met again to continue its discussion about the Denham Springs Police Department and heard from a lieutenant who said a toxicology report revealed one of his fellow officers was on prescription and illegal drugs while on duty.

Lt. Shannon Womack told the city's civil service commission he rushed Sergeant Russell Munsell to a hospital at the end of September.  

Munsell's toxicology results showed he had prescription painkillers and other illegal drugs in his system, Womack said.

"The [test] was positive for benzodiazepines," Womack said. "Benzos are the family of drugs that include valium and xanax and the [test] was positive for that."

Womack told commissioners Munsell had a prescription for the painkillers but he could not remember which illegal drugs Munsell was in his system.

Officers testified Munsell would also fall asleep at restaurants while on duty and people would ask if the officer was alright.  One occasion was photographed, officers said.  The photo, shown in an earlier report from the Investigative Unit, has formed the center of the investigation.  Officers added, a prisoner was next to Munsell in the image where he appears to be sleeping.

Each of the officers who testified said they reported Munsell's behavior to their superiors.  The commission is investigating allegations Chief Scott Jones knew about Munsell's alleged drug abuse for years and covered it up.

An internal investigation into the September incident concluded last week.

Munsell is on paid administrative leave following an internal investigation.  The report is in the hands of Mayor Jimmy Durbin who is said to be making a decision about if Munsell should be fired.

In February, Munsell was cleared of a separate internal investigation. It was alleged Munsell was making criminal informants buy drugs for him for his personal use.

An informant told a Livingston Parish Sheriff's deputy Munsell would make him buy drugs without a wire or video recording. The informant also said Munsell stopped marking money used to buy drugs.

The deputy reported the complaint to DSPD.

Chief Jones took no action against Munsell stating there was not sufficient evidence into the informant's claims.

Chief Jones has been subpoenaed to testify for the civil service commission's investigation into the department.

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