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Recordings missing

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DENHAM SPRINGS - A civil service investigation into the city's police chief and a department captain is in jeopardy since recordings of testimony related to the commission's inquiry are either damaged or blank.

For months, the Denham Springs Civil Service Board has looked into allegations chief Scott Jones and captain Steve Kistler mismanaged the department and covered up an officer's drug problem.

Wednesday, it was revealed four tapes from a November 17th meeting where Jones and Kistler both took the stand had serious flaws.

"We just have to listen and we have to access if [the tapes in question] are significant enough to implicate the law or not. At this point, we just don't know," the board's attorney Henry Olinde said.

Olinde has not listened to the tapes as of Wednesday night. He's been at every meeting and did not find it necessary to review them until attorneys representing Jones and Kistler brought the problem to his attention.

"We are just going to have to listen to them and see what's on them," he said about trying to figure out what happened and the implications the recording issues may have on the commission's investigation.

But, there is another problem: the tapes are not in the town's possession anymore. Initially, copies were initially given to Jones' attorney, who received the originals after reporting to the commission's secretary, there was nothing on the recordings he first received.

Olinde said the charges against Kistler and Jones could be dropped if the tapes turn out to have not recorded the hearing.

"The open meetings law require that you record public meetings," Olinde said. "The police officers bill of rights in particular requires that the interrogation of police employees be recorded."

The board decided to review the recordings and resume Kistler's predisciplinary hearing on January 14 and Jones the following day.

 

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