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04/08/2016

JEFFERSON COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSIONER "HONORARY DEPUTY" COMMISSION REVOKED

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACT

Major Lafayette Woods, Jr.

Operation Commander/Public Information Officer

870.541.5351-OFFICE/870.329.5652-CELL

Email: lafayette.woods@jeffcoso.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACT

Major Lafayette Woods, Jr.

Operation Commander/Public Information Officer

870.541.5351-OFFICE/870.329.5652-CELL

Email: lafayette.woods@jeffcoso.org

JEFFERSON COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSIONER "HONORARY DEPUTY" COMMISSION REVOKED: Jefferson County, Arkansas – April 8, 2016 – Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office revoked “honorary deputy” credentials on yesterday for Stuart Soffer, citing violations of moral fitness and conduct standards stemming from an incident on March 31, 2016 whereby officers with the Pine Bluff Police Department responded to a disturbance between Soffer and former Commissioner Theodis Davis that according to witness accounts involved Soffer brandishing a weapon outside the Office of the Jefferson County Election Commission.

“At the advice of counsel following a circumspect investigation that included the review of information documented in Pine Bluff Police Department Incident Report No. 16-00012481 along with the review of video evidence by our office of the incident involving Mr. Soffer and former Commissioner Davis, our office made the decision to proceed with revocation of Mr. Soffer's “honorary deputy” credentials, which were issued on January 1, 2015.”

With nearly 100 Special Deputies, the issuance of “honorary deputy” credentials has been a long standing tradition here at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office dating back many administrations. Arkansas Code Annotated A.C.A. § 12-9-301. Definitions in accordance with the Arkansas Commission of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (CLEST) Subchapter 3 – Auxiliary Law Enforcement Officers Section § 12-9-301. (4) defines a "honorary deputy" as any person having no law enforcement authority except as a private citizen.

“Honorary or Special Deputies get an identification card, but in no way confer special power or imply a person can act in an enforcement capacity or carry a weapon without a concealed handgun license issued by the State of Arkansas or a weapon being carried under Arkansas Act 746 of 2013. Honorees are generally recommended by someone in the department or otherwise already known to be in good standing with our office and/or Jefferson County.”

“I can’t remember the last time we had to revoke someone’s “honorary deputy” commission, but the potential is always there to either abuse or misuse it. Short of requesting decertification through CLEST and affording the deputy a right to an appeal, the actions we took concerning the revocation of Mr. Soffer’s commission is generally the same actions we would take if a regular deputy tried to abuse or misuse their commission. However, these circumstances differ a bit, as “honorary police or deputies” are clearly defined by CLEST as any person having no law enforcement authority except as a private citizen. The issuance of an honorary commission is a privilege bestowed by the sheriff, who reserves the right to revoke a commission at any time.”

 

 

 

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