- Associated Press - Friday, May 6, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training has decided that a former Benton police lieutenant acquitted of child rape charges in July will keep his state law enforcement certification.

The seven-member commission voted Thursday to let 44-year-old Monte Hodge retain his credentials as a state-sanctioned law enforcement officer, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1ryR2M4 ) reported.

Hodge worked at the Benton Police Department for more than 18 years when a teenage boy accused him of sexual abuse. The department fired him in January 2014, and Hodge didn’t appeal the termination. Benton police requested that the state revoke Hodge’s law enforcement certification in April 2014, more than a year before the case went to trial.

Officers testified Thursday that Hodge violated department policies, most notably an honesty clause, even though he was found innocent in the criminal case.

Hodge failed two questions on a computer stress voice-analysis test, as well as a polygraph test conducted by the Arkansas State Police, said Capt. Kevin Russell, who led an internal investigation in the case.

The test results are widely considered unscientific and inadmissible in court. But Russell stood by the results, saying that they’re permitted in state administrative hearings.

“Through my training and experience, I’ve found (the tests) to be very accurate, as far as determining information,” he said.

Assistant Attorney General Sara Farris also focused on trustworthiness in testimony Thursday, saying that even if Hodge retained his certification, he’d be unemployable as an officer.

Hodge had an “exemplary” record at the department before he was terminated, said Kirk Lane, Benton police chief.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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