Officers featured in Investigative Unit report handed one-day suspensions
UPDATE: Both officers have been given unpaid, one-day suspensions following a disciplinary hearing.
DENHAM SPRINGS- Two Denham Springs Police Officers are awaiting a pre-disciplinary hearing after an internal investigation revealed one used the "n-word" and another was behind on apartment rent that exceeded $4,600.
At least one officer has been with the department for 20 years. Another has only been with the DPSD for two years.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit began asking questions two weeks ago when sources informed us of the internal investigations. One officer who was with the department for two years was accused of taking evidence home. Empty evidence bags were discovered in the apartment he was renting along with marijuana in a baggie.
That officer learned that a longtime sergeant with the department was conducting the investigation and complained to his supervisors that he heard that sergeant say the "n-word" and was concerned about the impartiality of the investigation.
When the investigations concluded, investigators could not determine that the empty evidence bags and the baggie of marijuana belonged to the police officer because the apartment had been unlocked for an extended period of time after he was evicted. The investigation confirmed he owed $4,600 in back rent which was a violation of policy. The investigation also concluded the Sergeant with 20 plus years in the department used the "n-word" at something that wasn't working properly and it was not directed at a colleague or employee.
"Racial slurs are words that we don't want to come out of our police officers' mouths," Chief Shannon Womack said.
Following the conclusion of the investigations, all information was turned over to Mayor Gerard Landry for discipline. Although Chief Womack declined to comment on the pending investigation, he wanted the public to know actions that tarnish the badge won't be tolerated.
"Number one, we police our own," Chief Womack said. "We will not tolerate any misconduct of our police officers, and we take all allegations seriously and investigate them as completely as we can... And report the findings to the mayor's office for discipline."
A disciplinary hearing has been scheduled for Thursday for both officers.