Ferriday Police Chief found guilty

Published 3:03 pm Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Sometimes it’s the spirit and not the letter of the law that matters most, Ferriday Police Chief Richard Madison said.

Madison was found to be in violation of state ethics laws regarding nepotism by the state ethics board on April 12, but was not fined, Board of Ethics attorney Alicia Ardoin said.

Madison was hired as chief investigator for the Ferriday police in 2004 by Mayor Gene Allen while his half-brother Robert Davis was police chief.

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“The public hearing found that Chief Madison and Robert Davis violated section 1119 of state code of governmental ethics,” said Ardoin.

Section 1119 prohibits the immediate family members of a department head from working in their department, she said.

The lack of a fine was purely at the discretion of the board, Ardoin said.

Madison said that the board found the pair guilty for technical legal reasons.

“The board said that they would set new case law if they do not find us guilty,” he said.

The board said that Madison and Davis did not violate the spirit of the law and they should not be held responsible because they do not do any hiring or firing in the Ferriday Police Department, Madison said.

According to a law known as the Larson act, in towns where the chief of police is appointed, the mayor has the authority to hire and fire officers, Madison said.

Madison also worked for the city under two previous mayoral administrations.

“If the mayor is going to hire me, how can you hold (Davis) accountable for the mayor’s action?” he said.

The panel was unanimous on that point, Madison said.

“If anyone is going to be held responsible for this, it’s the mayor, and the mayor agrees with that,” he said.

Based on what the panel told them, Madison and Davis could have even continued to work in that capacity had Davis not resigned as chief of police.

“They wanted to fine us, and when they told us what the fine was going to be, I told them that we were going to take this all the way,” Madison said. “I wasn’t going to buckle on this because I knew it was right.”