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Ex-BRPD officer facing third arrest
BATON ROUGE - A former narcotics officer was booked into jail for a third time Wednesday, two days after the department said he was facing new charges tied to its internal corruption probe.
Jason Acree, who resigned from the department earlier this month, is now facing charges of filing and maintaining false public records, malfeasance in office and making false statements. Arrest documents obtained Wednesday said Acree lied on a search warrant filed back in January.
Those revelations were made Monday as Police Chief Murphy Paul took questions from reporters for the first time since corruption surfaced at the Baton Rouge Police Department's narcotics squad.
"Baton Rouge, don't let the actions of a few of a couple of rogue individuals force you to lose faith in the majority of our officers," Paul said.
All of the corruption came to light in December when Officer Jeremiah Ardoin was arrested for possession of stolen things. He cooperated with investigators which led to Acree's prior two arrests.
At the news conference Monday, Chief Murphy Paul and his deputy chiefs discussed ongoing criminal and administrative investigations that are currently happening within the Baton Rouge Police Department's narcotics division.
Since the corruption was brought to light, Ardoin and Acree have both resigned. A third officer is under a criminal investigation over what our sources said involves evidence. Four high-ranking supervisors were also transferred. Two supervisors are lieutenants and two are sergeants.
When Ardoin resigned last month, he sat down with the WBRZ Investigative Unit in an exclusive interview where he detailed the corruption that was ongoing. Ardoin alleged coverups, quotas and said he heard other officers discuss planting drugs on people.
"At least three to four nights a week, they would have us riding through the neighborhoods," Ardoin said. "If you saw a random black person walking around the street and hasn't done anything they would tell us just to jump out the vehicle grab them and pat them down without probable cause. And I voiced my opinions several times, and I didn't agree with that."
Monday, Chief Paul said every allegation Ardoin made is under investigation.
"I saw your interview," Paul said. "Every allegation is being addressed."
In addition to looking into Ardoin's claims, a top-to-bottom audit is currently underway at the Baton Rouge Police narcotics division. The audit spans from March of 2016 until March of 2021 and will review narcotics evidence, money, overtime, arrests, and body camera footage during that timeframe.
"That audit is currently ongoing, and I anticipate it to be ongoing for several more months at a minimum," Deputy Chief Neal Noel said.
Since the allegations broke, more than 700 drug charges have been dismissed for about 120-125 people. District Attorney Hillar Moore said his office is now in the process of trying to expunge the records of those individuals. The WBRZ Investigative Unit reporting last week, it will cost nearly $40,000 to do that.
As the investigations continue, Chief Paul said he's committed to restoring trust in the agency he represents.
"We have 800 employees and over 600 police officers, and we are talking about a couple right now," Paul said. "The vast majority of the men and women wear this uniform and believe in values. The last thing that a good cop wants is a bad cop, because it makes us all look bad."
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