June 30, 2002
Trooper Suspended During Gun Inquiry
by Tom Loftus, The Courier-Journal
FRANKFORT, Ky. - The Kentucky State Police suspended Trooper William Herald yesterday during an inquiry into how one of his police-issued handguns was found in the possession of a juvenile who was charged with assaulting a Covington police officer last week.
Herald was suspended with pay pending the outcome of an internal inquiry into his actions and a criminal investigation of what state police called an "alleged theft" of two guns from Herald's Lexington home on June 18, according to a department statement.
Lt. Lisa Rudzinski, head of the state police public affairs branch, would not say why Herald was suspended or why the action was taken yesterday. "Because the inquiry and investigation are still ongoing, we cannot elaborate from what was in the statement," she said.
Herald, 39, is a 17-year state police veteran. In April he won a coveted assignment to the executive security detail, which provides security for Gov. Paul Patton and his family.
This week The Courier-Journal reported that Covington police recovered a 10mm handgun while chasing two young males in Covington on the night of June 18. The gun, which was later identified as Herald's, had not been reported stolen, Covington police said.
According to police reports, one of the two males - a 16year-old whose name was not disclosed - threw the gun at a pursuing officer, striking him in the hand. The 16-year-old was charged with third-degree assault. His companion, Frank Catterton, 19, of Covington, was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Rudzinski said that when questioned about the gun by his supervisors, Herald said he had not realized it was missing because at the time he was using a second police-issued gun. Another gun, which is privately owned, also was reported missing from Herald's home.
Rudzinski said that Herald told investigators that he had two houseguests on the night of June 17. Because of the ongoing inquiry and investigation, Rudzinski would not identify the overnight guests or say whether they were the two people charged the following night.
State police took no personnel action against Herald until yesterday. But after the incident Herald requested, and was granted, a transfer to the state police post in Bowling Green. The move means a 10 percent pay cut from the $51,733 Herald had been earning.
Herald has not responded to requests for interviews made through Rudzinski.
According to Herald's resume, which is on file with the state Personnel Cabinet, he joined the state police in 1985, and for several years he worked as a trainer at the State Police Academy in Frankfort.
Lt. James Richerson, assistant commander of the academy, described Herald as an exemplary officer and a versatile and skilled member of the training staff. "I've never heard anybody say anything bad about him. He's always been a good employee. I think that's evidenced by his record and the awards he's won," Richerson said.