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Cop quits after News 2 investigation into drug issues

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DENHAM SPRINGS - A sergeant has resigned after the News 2 Investigative Unit uncovered reports he was high on illegal prescription drugs while on the job.

Sergeant Russell Munsell is no longer with the Denham Springs Police Department, according to Chief Scott Jones.

The Denham Springs Civil Service Commission is looking into allegations Jones and Captain Steve Kistler knew about Munsell's suspected drug problem and ignored it.

Monday, Jones testified for the first time since the investigation began last month.

"[Munsell] had a prescription for painkillers and he realized he was taking painkillers when he didn't have any pain," Jones told commissioners.

Jones allowed Munsell to take 30 days leave after he self-reported prescription drug abuse in 2011.

The chief told commissioners he wanted to give Munsell a second chance.

"I try to save careers if I can," Jones said.

But commissioners were concerned with how Jones put Munsell right back at the head of narcotics when he got back from leave.

"He has a pill problem and he remains the head of the narcotics division," commissioner Jared Stevens said. "I don't understand how that's feasible."

Jones later admitted he put Munsell back in narcotics because the sergeant never failed a drug test until after he was caught passed out at his desk this September.

In earlier hearings, officers have testified they reported Munsell's suspected drug abuse to their superiors several times.

Munsell has also been suspected of being responsible for money and a cell phone that went missing from the evidence locker.

Jones and Kistler said the testimony other officers told commissioners were just hearsay.

"There's not one shred of evidence. I know nothing about any missing money. I know nothing about any missing drugs. I know nothing about any missing property," Kistler said.

Officers have testified Munsell's most recent drug test was positive for several drugs. Several were illegal.



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