- Associated Press - Saturday, December 24, 2016

FERRIDAY, La. (AP) - Ferriday police are looking for missing equipment signed out to employees who left or were fired during the past four years, but a department consultant believes the items will be returned.

The Ferriday Board of Alderman had voted to contact Louisiana State Police to ask for help in auditing equipment, but consultant John Cowan said he thinks it’s a matter the department can handle internally.

The Natchez Democrat reports (https://bit.ly/2hzwJK1 ) the missing equipment includes stun guns, badges, radios and uniforms but not firearms.

Cowan has been in charge of the department temporarily since Mayor Sherrie Jacobs suspended Chief Arthur Lewis for an unspecified Dec. 2 incident.

“If needed, we will call them and ask to help with the investigation,” Cowan said. “As of right now, I think we can get it all taken care of.”

Assistant Ferriday Police Chief Bruce Wiley said at the board meeting the town had not been able to track down invoices related to the equipment purchases. Wiley said the invoices are needed to prove former employees did not turn equipment in before a crime can be charged.

Wiley said he could not say how many former employees are involved or how much equipment is missing.

On Wednesday, Cowan said the inventory documents had been located. Following a brief investigation, Cowan said he intends to issue warrants for the arrests of all former personnel who have any type of equipment signed out to them that they have not returned.

If the former employees return the equipment before the warrants are issued, Cowan said he would not pursue charges.

“It is a sign of good faith,” he said. “Either way we go, we just have to get the equipment back. It represents a great sum of money.”

Cowan said he did not know at this time how much money is tied up in missing equipment.

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Information from: Natchez Democrat, https://www.natchezdemocrat.com/

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