- Associated Press - Friday, November 6, 2015

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas State Police have executed a search warrant on the Benton County sheriff’s office amid a criminal investigation of Sheriff Kelley Cradduck.

The search happened Thursday at about the same time as Cradduck announced his bid for a third term next year in front of the sheriff’s office, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1WFBrmt ) reported. Before making his announcement, Cradduck said he would not respond to the “disgusting politics playing out now.”

Court records do not reveal why Cradduck is under investigation, but recently filed grievance complaints claim the investigation is into the improper hiring of a jail employee, including an attempt to pay him for time that he did not actually work.

According to the complaints, a former jail captain and a former jail lieutenant claim they were demoted by Cradduck as retaliation for cooperating with a state police investigation.

The search warrant said an executive assistant for the sheriff’s office was interviewed by state police and told them Cradduck instructed her to hire an employee on Oct. 7 and backdate his hire date to Sept. 28.

According to a police affidavit, Cradduck denied to state police that he told any staff member to backdate the hiring.

County human resources administrator Barb Ludwig said that state police requested a list of all terminations and resignations dating back to 2013 from her office on Thursday. The administrator said she was unclear for what purpose investigators need the information.

A special prosecutor has been appointed to handle the case.


Information from: Northwest Arkansas Times, https://www.nwaonline.com

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