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|OPSO cuts off Sterlington|
Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office will no longer provide Sterlington Police Department with access to several national and state database systems.
In a March 31 letter sent to Sterlington Police Chief Barry Bonner, OPSO Col. Marc Mashaw said the sheriff's office made the decision because the sheriff's office learned Bonner recently obtained a private investigator's license. The letter said Bonner secured the license so he could serve summons for other jurisdictions.
Effective immediately, according to the letter addressed to Bonner, OPSO will no longer provide access to National Crime Information Center, National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System and the Louisiana Law Enforcement Telecommunications system.
"It has come to our attention that you have obtained a private investigator's license in addition to your duties as the chief of police for Sterlington," Mashaw wrote to Bonner.
"We understand that you did this in order to serve summons for other jurisdictions," Mashaw's letter said. "This is in direct violation of OPSO policy."
Mashaw's letter said a private investigator was not authorized to receive information obtained through the aforementioned telecommunications systems.
"Any access to listed databases are for law enforcement only," Mashaw's letter said. "Our agency does not allow our own deputies to retain such a license nor operate as a private investigator in conflict with their assigned duties as a deputy sheriff."
Mashaw's letter said that under Sheriff Chuck Cook's administration, OPSO denied Richwood Police Department access to the databases the sheriff's office utilizes to assist it in its law enforcement duties because the late Chief Robert Kelly Jr. acquired a private investigator's license.
Under Sheriff Richard Fewell's administration, according to Mashaw's letter, Sterlington Police Department was denied access, too.
However, under Sheriff Royce Toney's administration, according to Mashaw's letter, Sterlington Police Department's access to the databases was reinstated with "strict warnings that any hint of impropriety undermining our trust with your agency's access to NCIC would result in the loss of this privilege."
Toney said Bonner violated a privilege OPSO granted Sterlington Police Department.
"What's good for one is right for the other," Toney said. "We didn't let Richwood have it, so we can't allow another to have it. Our deputies are not allowed to have it (private investigator's license)."
"We run a straight-up ship, and we expect him (Bonner) to do the same," Toney continued. "He broke our confidence and we took action. We're not going to tolerate any hints of impropriety on our system."
Mashaw said the sheriff's office will notify State Police of OPSO's decision.
Sterlington Police Department will be required to notify State Police communications headquarters in Baton Rouge to make arrangements for another agency to take over its current database entry records.
Bonner did not return a telephone call to comment.