Two more RPSO deputies fired as part of payroll fraud investigation
On Monday afternoon, Rapides Parish Sheriff William Earl Hilton confirmed to News Channel 5 that two more officers, Eddie Andrus and Brian Frost, have been fired as part of the investigation into payroll fraud committed during the state-funded "Safe and Sober" campaign.
Three deputies were arrested as part of the same investigation last week.
We wanted to know why were three deputies arrested in this same investigation last week, but not these two? And who holds responsibility?
Sheriff Hilton sat down with us to answer some questions.
Anna Denton: Ever since Thursday have you fired anyone?
Hilton: I fired two today.
Anna: For what?
Hilton: For the same thing that the State Police arrested the other three officers, or deputies, for last week
Anna: So, are the counts the same?
Hilton: We didn’t arrest anybody, but I fired both of them because they were part of the investigation and I’m not privy to go into the State Police investigation because I really don’t know what all they did. But, the allegations against the three that were arrested are the same allegations as, I understand it, against the two that I terminated today.
Anna: So, why were those three arrested, and these two weren’t?
Hilton: I don’t know, and that’s a good question for you to ask the State Police. I've talked with them twice today and so I'd feel more comfortable if you let them answer that. I don’t want to put words in their mouth or say anything that they wouldn’t approve of.
Anna: So, State Police investigated these three as well because I heard that the State Police investigated several but then a couple were turned back over to you guys for investigation.
Hilton: They turned two names back over to me to be dealt with internally and that's what I did today. I fired those two. And that was Detective Andrus and Brian Frost who worked narcotics.
Anna: In the past three years you've been in office, there have been fourteen people, RPSO employees, arrested.
Hilton: There have been fifteen.
Anna: As the leader of RPSO, do you feel like any of the blame for these arrests ultimately falls back on you, or do you feel like that responsibility goes to other people?
Hilton: It goes to other people, and I'm disappointed and it hurts me. You don’t know how this has been eating on me ever since this started because these are people -- a lot of them I hired, most of them I hired, and I just hate to see anybody in trouble. I told somebody this morning, I am tired of hurting people, good people, they do a dumb thing. They get caught up in it, but it is my responsibility I have to deal with, and if it means termination then I have to do that."
State Police declined to comment on Sheriff Hilton's statements, but everything will be in the report to the District Attorney's office.