Earlier today, former Police Chief Bobby Hickman was arrested at his home by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to a press release from the City of Leesville.
Note: This is a developing story; changes may be made periodically as details become available.
Rose: FBI arrests Hickman
By TAMMY SHARP and ALIX KUNKLE
According to a spokesperson with the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office, former Leesville Police Chief Bobby Hickman was arrested around 9 a.m. by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The sheriff's office assisted in the arrest. The spokesman said that Hickman was taken to Lake Charles to appear before a federal magistrate on "some type of federal indictment."
No one with the U.S. Attorney's Office was available to comment on the arrest Friday afternoon. Federal Bureau of Investigations spokesperson Sheila Thorne said she could neither confirm or deny the arrest.
A press release from Leesville City Hall announced the arrest late Friday afternoon.
Leesville Mayor Robert Rose told Leader staff that the entirety of the civil service investigation concerning Hickman, and former police officers Michael Cash and John Sims, was available at city hall. That 17-page document is attached to this story.
All three were either terminated or resigned from the city's police force amid an investigation that began after former Leesville city police officer Charlie Lopez pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute Dihydrocodeinone and one count of distribution of anabolic steroids in Lake Charles federal court Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010.
Lopez also implicated Hickman Sims and Cash in his plea agreement.
The civil service investigation found no evidence that would "refute the allegations made by Detective Lopez," the report said. It also cited that Mark Sheridan, a retired Louisiana State Police officer who conducted the investigation, made multiple attempts to contact Hickman, but Hickman failed to comply with the interview statements.
An interview was scheduled for Jan. 27, and Sheridan also requested multiple times for Hickman to schedule an interview with him.
The investigation notes that while Hickman did not claim all of the certified letters that were sent to him, he did sign and receive two of the letters sent through certified mail. Sheridan then suggested that the board follow through with LRS 33:2562, which says that the "any officer or employee in the classified service who willfully refuses or fails to appear before any court, officer, board, body, or person properly authorized to conduct any hearing or inquiry...shall...forfeit his position and shall not be eligible for appointment to any position in the classified service for a period of six years."
Cash was reinstated Wednesday after the board ruled that because due process was not followed, Cash's rights were not respected.
Rose also commented on that ruling.
“We are disappointed with the Civil Service Commission's ruling but we fully expected that they would stand up for bureaucratic procedure over the public's right to safety," he said. "It is like expecting a parent to fairly referee a game their child is playing on: It won't happen.
"My Administration will do everything in its power to fight to protect the integrity of the men and women who serve as law enforcement officers and do not see themselves as above the law," he added.
"An administrative investigation concluded that this individual - along with the former Police Chief Hickman and former Police Officer Simms - knowingly broke the law, violated their oaths of office and clearly, by engaging in and encouraging unlawful activity through their public service jobs, put the safety of Leesville at risk.
"There is something grossly wrong with those expected to uphold the law illegally using and selling narcotics on their job as police officers. Every citizen in this community should be appalled by such behavior and refuse to condone it in any way.
"A public employee loses their rights to any civil service protections the moment they willfully violate their public trust to uphold and enforce the law."
In a phone interview Friday afternoon, Cash said that his plans are to return to the city police force.
"As of now, I have all intentions of going back," he said. "I'm just waiting on them to call me."
The Leesville City Council is set to go into Executive Session concerning Cash at their next scheduled meeting, Monday, June 27 at 2 p.m.
The City's attorney in the matter has indicated that the city will appeal the civil service ruling.