Prosecutor “Extremely Frustrated” By Sheriff’s Inaction On Clarifying Vehicle Policy

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BENTON COUNTY (KFSM) -- In a letter dated Oct. 26, 2015 and addressed to Benton County Sheriff Kelley Cradduck, Benton County Prosecutor Nathan Smith urges Cradduck to establish a clear policy regarding the personal use of county vehicles at the sheriff's office after it was found that one of his deputies used a county vehicle to take a personal vacation to Florida.

Smith states that he is writing the letter after learning on Oct. 23 that Cradduck has not issued a new policy to address the problem despite assurances from Cradduck that changes would be made. 5NEWS reported on Oct. 5 that the deputy had used a sheriff's office vehicle for personal use for trips to Texas, Missouri and Florida. In his letter, Smith calls the deputy's use of the vehicle to take a vacation "foolish."

Smith writes that "it is extremely frustrating to me that the misuse of sheriff's office vehicles cannot be prosecuted" since the current policy is vague and up for interpretation, therefore an employee can claim he or she did not understand the policy. The deputy who used a county vehicle for personal matters was never charged for that reason, Smith said on Oct. 5. It is also the reason, Smith writes in his letter that it is "imperative that a policy change be made so that future incidents can be prosecuted."

Smith concludes the letter by once again urging the sheriff to either draft a new policy or clarify the existing policy so that it is clear to sheriff's office employees that purely personal use of sheriff's office vehicles is prohibited. Smith asks Cradduck to this immediately.

5NEWS contacted the sheriff's office for a response late Tuesday.

To read the full letter, click here.

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