Henderson County Sheriff says Polk Sheriff deputies operating outside jurisdiction

Published 3:29 pm Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Henderson County Sheriff Rick Davis says officers with the Polk County Sheriff&squo;s Office are operating outside their jurisdiction in Henderson County and he will be forced to void the mutual aid agreement between the two counties if the practice does not stop.

Sheriff Davis wrote Polk County Sheriff Chris Abril a letter last week saying that Polk officers have repeatedly been in Henderson County acting &dquo;under the color of the law&dquo; on narcotis cases without notifying the Henderson County Sheriff&squo;s Office.

Sheriff Davis says he is most concerned about the safety of officers, which could be at risk if Henderson County and Hendersonville are not properly notified of Polk activities there.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Sheriff Davis said additionally he has received two calls from citizens saying his department did not take action against drug transactions on two occasions but both times it was Abril&squo;s employees who were involved in the incidents.

&dquo;These incidents are giving Henderson County citizens the impression we are corrupt, not investigating drug activity, or both,&dquo; said Sheriff Davis.

Sheriff Abril responded that he discussed the issue with Sheriff Davis on April 1 and Abril thought at that time that the issue had been resolved. Abril also said he has no problem with Henderson County pursuing his officers as civilians if his officers are acting outside their duties within Henderson County.

Sheriff Davis said Monday he received Abril&squo;s letter in response and taked to him by phone. Davis says he&squo;s now confident the issue will be resolved.

The Bulletin obtained copies of both the letter from Sheriff Davis to Sheriff Abril and Abril&squo;s response (see above and page 7).

Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson said all Polk commissioners have received a copy of the letters.

&dquo;As manager, I&squo;m concerned about it,&dquo; Whitson said. &dquo;We certainly don&squo;t want the mutual aid agreement dismissed because that would place Polk County citizens at risk.&dquo;

The Polk County Sheriff&squo;s Office has been under fire lately from some Polk commissioners who have expressed concern over issues in the sheriff&squo;s department such as high fuel consumption that is pushing the department over budget, high employee turnover, and a high number of car accidents involving officers.

Abril has said his office is doing what it takes to keep Polk citizens safe and he&squo;s urged commissioners to provide the tools they need, such as new vehicles, so they can do that job as effectively as possible.