Government in Conflict

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An abandoned house on the site of the county's new industrial park was vandalized recently. At a work session of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors today, District 5 Supervisor Ray Boswell accused Sheriff Billy Sollie of dragging his feet in the investigation.

"I think the county patrol has found the culprit that did that," said Boswell, who accused the sheriff of not acting on the tip because of personal objections about the existence of the county patrol.

Each of five county supervisors may appoint a county patrolman to work in his district. None is under the supervision of the sheriff.

"Has he made an arrest?" asked Sollie. "Has he signed an affidavit? He has over 20 years law enforcement experience and is a veteran narcotics investigator."

"No," answered Boswell, "and neither have you."

Boswell said Sollie should run for supervisor, since he "likes to run things." Boswell went on the criticize Sollie's budget requests.

Sollie replied that, in Louisiana, sheriffs oversee the collection of taxes to run the law enforcement budget separately from county government.

"The taxes would be more justified (to the public)", said Sollie. He added that the investigation of the vandalism might have gotten further yesterday "had we not had a murder," which Sollie said was the priority for investigators.

"But is he dead?" asked Boswell.

"Yes, sir," answered Sollie.

A spokesman for the sheriff's office said later the tip provided by a county patrolman was checked, but the vehicle involved was cleared of any connection to the vandalism. However, the investigation continues.