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Sheriff's office reviewing policies after woman wrongfully arrested for EBR warrant on honeymoon

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BATON ROUGE – The sheriff’s office is considering ways to prevent future, wrongful arrests after a woman was mistakenly arrested after a honeymoon cruise this month.

A woman from Hammond was detained at the cruise ship terminal in New Orleans following a cruise after an arrest warrant was filed with incorrect information. The name of a suspect with the same name was misspelled; the misspelling matched the name of the woman arrested.

The woman told WBRZ, she was apprehended and spent time in the Orleans Parish Prison and the mistake was realized before being booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

The error included non-matching birthdays and different spellings, but was not caught until after the woman was detained.

“My number one priority is keeping our community safe and informed,” Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said in a statement. “It’s imperative that this parish has trust in our ability to do our job competently and thoroughly. I am sorry that such an error was made that caused an innocent woman to be put in such an upsetting situation. I am fully committed to continuously reviewing, updating and improving policies, procedures and training. I will do all I can to put every possible safeguard in place to attempt to prevent this from happening again.”

The case involved a rented vehicle that was not returned in 2017. Ranking deputies within the property crimes unit are in the middle of a review of all cases, the sheriff’s office said.

Investigative policies and procedures related to property crimes and auto thefts are being reviewed as part of a division-wide assessment by a newly-promoted deputy who oversees those investigations, the sheriff’s office said. Reviews have been ongoing since 2018.

The office is currently conducting a thorough audit of active warrants for the agency and will continue to do so routinely, the sheriff’s office added.

The deputy who originally handled the theft complaint and filed the warrant retired in November, unrelated to the incorrect arrest.

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