New Roads mayor fires 2 high-ranking police officers despite staffing shortages
NEW ROADS - New Roads Mayor Cornell Dukes terminated a captain and lieutenant in the New Roads Police Department Friday saying their positions have been eliminated.
Captain Delaney Lee and Lieutenant Mike Johnson were both handed their termination papers Friday.
Lee told WBRZ he believes his termination is direct retaliation from a WBRZ Investigative Unit report that aired in December that showcased Mayor Cornell Dukes using a police detail at the taxpayers' expense. He's the only mayor in a city that size that uses a police detail.
At the time, he told us he had threats to his life and it was for security. But, the WBRZ Investigative Unit checked with every law enforcement entity and could not find a threat Mayor Dukes had filed pertaining to his safety.
"I know for a fact that some of his family members were going around town saying I was the one that contacted you about the driver," Captain Lee said. "I didn't contact you until Friday when I was terminated. You and I hadn't spoke about anything prior."
Lee was not the source of our story that aired last month. He said problems first arose when he stopped signing the timesheets for the detail.
"When I was over uniform patrol, part of the problem was when I started receiving timesheets with ridiculous overtime I refused to sign them," Lee said.
Lee said it was well documented that Mayor Dukes was not using the detail to benefit the City of New Roads.
"It's not city business," Lee said. "We are taking the community's money, and we are spending the community's money on drivers taking the mayor to night clubs, dinner dates, taking him to have drinks, sitting in his parking lot until his company is ready to leave. The whole time the city is paying for this."
The WBRZ Investigative Unit reached out to Dukes. We asked him about Lee's allegations and whether police officers were ferrying him out of the city for drinks, dinner dates and night clubs. Dukes refused to answer that question multiple times over the phone. We asked if the allegations were true or false.
"It doesn't deserve an answer," Dukes said.
Dukes told WBRZ by phone that the fruits of their labor were paying off and those spots occupied by Lee and Johnson were no longer needed. Instead, he said he would contract those positions out. We asked why he would contract those positions out if they were not needed, and Dukes did not provide clear answers.
"Mike Johnson had two years left to retire and was looking forward to working two years," Lee said. "To take his retirement away from him for personal reasons. He did nothing wrong, and neither did I, but to take his retirement for personal reasons... That has to be answered for."
The New Roads City Council was scheduled to discuss the situation on Tuesday at their meeting at 5:30pm. However, Councilman Kirk White said that meeting has been canceled.
"It will come up at some point," White told WBRZ Monday.
As for Lee, he said the taxpayers deserve an explanation as to what Dukes is doing.
"My next course of action is legal," Lee said. "All of this is strictly retaliation."
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