Sheriff quiets rumor

Published 11:01 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2007

VIDALIA — Come election season, it is almost inevitable rumors about a candidate and their post-election plans will begin to spread, and rumors about both candidates for sheriff have already started to circulate.

Rumors the sheriff’s office has plans to move the work-release prison facility on U.S. 84 to the old Moose Lodge near Vidalia after the upcoming elections have been circulating the parish in recent weeks, but Sheriff Randy Maxwell says it simply isn’t true.

The old Moose Lodge is located in what has over the years become a growing neighborhood.

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Sheriff Randy Maxwell dismissed the story as little more than an election-time rumor.

“We have absolutely no plans to move our facility,” Maxwell said. “We have no desire and no need to.”

The current work release facility is ideal for the sheriff’s office because it is visible to the public but is not located near any neighborhoods, Maxwell said.

Maxwell acknowledged the owner of the Moose Lodge building approached him approximately six months ago about the possibility of selling the building to the sheriff’s office, but the office has not acted on the offer, he said.

The candidate running against Maxwell, Glen Lipsey, said similar rumors about him are also untrue.

One tale that has been circulating the parish is that Lipsey has stated he will close down the parish prisons — the Rivers and Concordia Correctional Facilities — once he takes office.

“I have never said anything of that sort,” Lipsey said. “I have absolutely no plans to do anything like that.”

Another rumor making rounds in the area is that Lipsey plans to end the work-release program, in which prisoners about to be released are allowed to work jobs in the community to earn money for when they are released.

“If elected, I am not going to end that program,” he said.

Rumors are at best a fear tactic used during elections, Lipsey said.

“If you can get people thinking they’re going to lose their job or something like that, of course they’re going to vote one way or another,” he said.

The only way to deal with rumors is to confront them head-on, Lipsey said.

“If anyone hears anything like (those rumors) about me, I tell them to call me and find out for themselves,” he said. “If I said it, I will tell them, and if I didn’t, then I’ll clear that up.”