Probe into police dept. blocked
DENHAM SPRINGS - At a city Civil Service Commission hearing Thursday, a Denham Springs police officer admitted that one of the department's sergeants was photographed sleeping at his desk.
The commission is investigating allegations that Sgt. Russell Munsell has a drug problem and complaints about his issues are going unresolved by the chief. The commission continued its investigation this week with another hearing.
Officer James Foster told the commission he and follow officers saw Sgt. Munsell asleep. The remark sparked commotion from police captain Steve Kistler.
Kistler jumped to his feet and ordered Foster to stop speaking about the incident, telling the commission to back off. The city's attorney has asked the department's staff not to talk about Munsell since there is an ongoing internal investigation, officers said.
Munsell, a narcotics agent, is on administrative leave pending the outcome of the internal investigation and the newly-formed investigation by the commission.
At the hearing Thursday, several officers testified they have filed formal complaints about Munsell's suspected drug problems.
"I was advised that some Hammond narcotics agents had stopped Sergeant Munsell one night and had some interaction with him," Sgt. Thomas Delrie said.
Officers told the commission Munsell has been suspected of taking prescription pills, cell phones and money from an evidence safe.
Foster said several times while working with Munsell, drug buy money has come up missing. Foster insinuated a fellow officer did something about it- he called it "corrected the problem."
Chief Scott Jones refused to talk to about allegations that he has covered up drug issues.
The investigation into the situation was sparked by a fired cop who believes he is a whistleblower.
Sighting a lack of cooperation, the commission decided to get a judgment from the 21st Judicial Court on whether or not officers should be forced to discuss the internal investigation.