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Hendricks sentenced to six months in prison

VIDALIA — Former Vidalia Police Chief Ronnie G. “Tapper” Hendricks was sentenced to six months in prison Friday for making false statements to federal law enforcement agents during the course of an investigation into the use and disposition of certain firearms located at the police department.

According to a press release from the Department of Justice, Hendricks was also fined $3,000, ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service and has to serve two years of supervised release after the completion of his prison term.

Hendricks was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dee Drell in Alexandria.

Hendricks pleaded guilty Nov. 18 to making three false statements during a February 2010 interview with FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents.

Hendricks denied transferring a fully-automatic machine gun owned by the VPD to the custody of the Rifle Point Hunting Club in Ferriday, when he had, in fact, given the gun to the hunting club for use by its members and guests.

Hendricks also falsely claimed that one of the individuals who he had given custody of the gun to was a reserve police officer of the VPD who he had sworn in at an unofficial ceremony.

There was no ceremony, and the individual was not a reserve police officer.

Thirdly, Hendricks falsely stated that the individual he claimed to have sworn in as a reserve officer signed an oath of office form prior to receiving the gun. The individual never signed an oath of office form.

Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland said he was glad to be able to move through the issue.

“I hate this for he and his family, but now they can move forward with their lives, just like the VPD,” he said.

In May, the VPD station was restricted as FBI and ATF agents searched the building and cars.

On Nov. 1, Hendricks resigned from his position as chief of police shortly after the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed charges against him.

Arthur Lewis was named acting police chief after Hendricks resigned.

Lewis was serving as assistant police chief.

Jim Boren was promoted to assistant police chief.

A special election to fill the seat will be April 2.

Lewis, Ferriday Police Department patrolman Sam King and criminal defense attorney Stuart Boykin are running for the seat.

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