Carroll County SO Won’t Hire Former Benton County Sheriff

BERRYVILLE (KFSM) — The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office won’t hire former Benton County Sheriff Kelley Cradduck as a patrol sergeant, according to Sheriff Randy Mayfield.

Mayfield said in a news release Friday (Sept. 29) he and Cradduck agreed it’s in everyone’s best interest for Cradduck not to join the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office.

“Based upon Mr. Cadduck’s experience and clear criminal and driving record, I offered Mr. Cradduck the patrol sergeant position in CCSO,” Mayfield said in the statement. “It has been well reported in the media that prior to losing his primary race for sheriff, he pleaded no contest, and received probation for a misdemeanor charge of tampering.

“Many have since expressed their concern about Mr. Cradduck serving with the CCSO. I have heard and respect these concerns, as has Mr. Cradduck. He and I spoke earlier today, and we both agree that it is in the best interest of all that he not be a deputy with the CCSO.”

Cradduck was scheduled to start working at the sheriff’s office on Oct. 18. He did not immediately respond Friday to requests for comment.

On Thursday (Sept. 28), Carroll County prosecutor Robert Rogers sent a letter to Mayfield saying that cases involving Cradduck prevented “proper prosecution” due to Cradduck’s expunged criminal history.

Rogers also chastised Mayfield for hiring two people with known criminal history. The other deputy hired was Jesse Ray.

Rogers said anyone with a criminal conviction — whether sealed or not — involved in a criminal investigation at the sheriff’s office must be disclosed to his office under state law. He added that the notification of any prior convictions will be turned over to the defense.

“Hiring individuals who are charged with enforcing the law and who themselves have criminal history is bad practice,” Rogers said. “At the very least, it is certainly a disservice to the citizens of this county who depend on you to protect and to serve.”

Arkansas State Police arrested Cradduck Jan. 19, 2016, at the Benton County Sheriff’s Office. He initially faced a felony tampering charge alongside a misdemeanor offense for telling an employee to lie during an Arkansas State Police investigation into whether Cradduck asked employees to backdate the start date of a new jailer by two weeks, according Jason Barrett, a Little Rock prosecutor appointed to oversee the investigation.

Cradduck was sentenced to six months probation in April 2016 after pleading no contest to misdemeanor tampering charges. He resigned later that month after losing the Republican nomination for sheriff. The conditions of his resignation included the payment of roughly $80,000 for his salary and health insurance contributions through the end of 2016.

Cradduck’s record was later expunged. Certain offenses can be expunged in Arkansas, meaning someone’s conduct “shall be deemed as a matter of law never to have occurred, and the individual may state that no such conduct ever occurred,” according to Arkansas Code Annotated 16-90-902.

The Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training voted 4-3 on Aug. 31 to allow Cradduck to keep his law enforcement certification.

Mayfield initially said that Cradduck’s law enforcement experience made him a good candidate for the job, adding several young deputies could learn from Cradduck.