Sheriff Candidate To File Official Complaint - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/26/04 - Tyler

Sheriff Candidate To File Official Complaint

A candidate for sheriff is preparing a formal complaint against Smith County Sheriff's Deputies. Andy Dunklin is alleging the department released incomplete documents to the media; designed to cast him in a negative light, and may have violated election laws in doing so.

Andy Dunklin wants to be the next Sheriff of Smith County. He says the sheriff needs to be responsible and held accountable for his actions. Dunklin's accountability was brought into question when Channel 7 News was given a DPS report by Major Mike Lusk of the Smith County Sheriff's Department. The report is an investigation into Dunklin's work history, and it painted him in a negative light. Dunklin says what we received is only a portion of the entire report.

"I believe it's wrong to take 24 pages out of 300 pages, paste and glue and tape, whatever you want, to paint the picture that you want," said Dunklin.

The initial incomplete document focused on problems Dunklin had while working for the Mineola and Whitehouse Police Departments. We were told, the information was given to us to show Dunklin had lied in a candidate forum in which he believed he could be rehired by all of his former employers. One page from the incomplete document refers to the Mineola Police Chief, who claimed Dunklin was "fired" for "insubordination". It says Dunklin is not eligible for rehire. But a page that wasn't originally provided to us, Dunklin says, tells a different story. The DPS investigator in the report says, "as to allegations that linger from his employment in Mineola, I say hogwash! totally vindictive in nature." Dunklin was eventually hired by DPS.

"Had there been any truth to any of these allegations, I would not have been eligible for hire with the Department of Public Safety," said Dunklin.

Major Lusk said he did not want to comment on camera because of a potential Dunklin complaint. But he did say, he's done nothing wrong, and plans to cooperate fully with any possible investigation. As for Sheriff J.B. Smith, he says he has never seen the report and did not ask anyone in his department to request the information. Dunklin says he is sending a certified letter of complaint to acting Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham, requesting an investigation. Bingham says he will forward that complaint to the Texas Rangers.

Kevin Berns (  reporting

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