Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge arrested

Whitley County sheriff charged with misuse of funds, improperly stored evidence

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Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge (source: Whitley County Fiscal Court) Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge (source: Whitley County Fiscal Court)
"For some time we received some citizens complaints, and the local newspaper had run a series of articles detailing some problems with the sheriff's office," said Allen Trimble, Commonwealth Attorney for Whitley County. "For some time we received some citizens complaints, and the local newspaper had run a series of articles detailing some problems with the sheriff's office," said Allen Trimble, Commonwealth Attorney for Whitley County.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (WATE) - Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge was arrested Monday after a grand jury indicted him on 21 counts related to money and seized weapons missing from his office.

Despite the indictments, the sheriff is still in charge of the department.

"Actually, it was no surprise to me," said Robert Damron, a Whitley County resident. "You heard stuff the first day in office. There have always been stories going around."

"I think it's sad when anybody in charge does something wrong because they are supposed to set the example," said Sandra McNealy. "We are supposed to obey the laws they enforce us to do."

The indictment alleges Hodge misused at least $200,000 of county funds and that he disposed of seized weapons for personal gain.

The grand jury investigation started in June.
   
"For some time we received some citizens complaints, and the local newspaper had run a series of articles detailing some problems with the sheriff's office," said Allen Trimble, Commonwealth Attorney for Whitley County.

What really got the investigation moving was when someone broke into the sheriff's department in December.

Trimble says the break-in happened right before the sheriff was supposed to hand over information on seized weapons.

There have also been other problems with the department.    

"One of the problems we've had with the sheriff department, especially with the sheriff, their failure to bring drug cases to the grand jury, to proceed with them, or send drug evidence to the lab for analysis," said Trimble.

Hodge bonded out of jail a couple of hours after his arrest.

He was not at his office on Tuesday. Employees at the sheriff's department would not comment about the allegations.    

People who live in Whitley County say seeing their sheriff arrested has put doubts in their minds about the entire department.

"No, I do not," said Damron when he was asked if he trusted the department. "I have none whatsoever. It's very scary. We have no justice."

A trial date has not been set yet for Sheriff Hodge.

This year ends his second term as sheriff. He lost a re-election bid in the May primary. Colan Harrel will take over as sheriff on January 1.

A federal investigation into the sheriff's office is also underway. Several federal search warrants were issued Monday.

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