MERRYVILLE, LA (KPLC) - The interim police chief for the town of Merryville has been arrested and charged with malfeasance in office, abuse of office and filing or maintaining false public records, according to Louisiana State Police.
According to a news release from Troop D, 36-year-old James Fowler was arrested Wednesday and remains in the Beauregard Parish Jail on $240,000 bond.
Authorities say that in June, detectives assigned to the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations, with assistance from the Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office, began an investigation into an incident of alleged misconduct by Fowler.
Detectives reportedly scrutinized an April 2012 traffic stop made by Fowler.
Authorities say investigators learned that Fowler stopped a vehicle for a traffic infraction and subsequently searched the vehicle. Nothing illegal was located during the search and the driver and passengers were released after the traffic stop.
Shortly thereafter, authorities say Fowler learned that narcotics may have been in the purse of one of the passengers.
Fowler then reportedly traveled outside the jurisdiction of Merryville to Bon Wier in Texas where he located the vehicle and its occupants. While there, authorities say he searched the purse of the passenger and discovered illegal narcotics. He arrested the female passenger and transported her back to Louisiana where she was booked into the Beauregard Parish Jail.
Investigators say they determined Fowler provided false information on an affidavit of arrest and an arrest report in conjunction with the arrest.
Louisiana State Police Sgt. James Anderson spoke to KPLC-TV about the arrest.
"We take accountability very seriously. This is a complaint that we took very seriously from the get go. This was a joint investigation between the Louisiana State Police and the Beauregard Sheriff's Office. We thoroughly investigated it and as a result, the police of chief is now in jail on $240,000 bond," Anderson said.
According to Merryville Mayor Larry Carroll, assistant chief Craig Lanier has assumed the duties of police chief. He said Lanier will be aided by the Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office during the transition.
Carroll said he wants the public to know that the incident does not reflect on the town's entire police department.