RICHARD BURGESS; ACADIANA BUREAU
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LAFAYETTE - Four longtime Lafayette police officers have been placed on administrative leave in an investigation of allegations that Chief Randy Hundley secretly recorded conversations at the department.
The officers, including a major in the criminal investigation division and the head of internal affairs, were placed on paid leave late Tuesday after being named in a State Police investigation of the alleged wiretapping, City-Parish Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley said Wednesday.
Hundley has been on leave since March, when District Attorney Mike Harson asked State Police to investigate complaints that the chief was recording employee conversations.
Harson announced Tuesday that State Police have completed their report, which named Hundley and four of his subordinates as possible suspects - Maj. Casey Fowler, Capt. Mike Lavergne, Sgt. Brian Butler and Cpl. Shannon Hundley.
A police spokesman, Cpl. Mark Francis, said Shannon Hundley is Randy Hundley's nephew.
The four officers are suspected of being involved in the placement, servicing or monitoring of a listening device, Harson said.
Harson said he plans to take the case before the grand jury this month for a decision on whether criminal charges should be pursued.
Harson, Stanley and interim chief Jim Craft all declined to elaborate on the investigation.
All four officers are department veterans and worked in administrative positions, Craft said.
Fowler, who has served the department for 28 years, is a high-ranking supervisor in the criminal investigation division.
He was also a candidate for the police chief appointment that Randy Hundley received in 2004.
Lavergne has been with the department for 25 years. He oversees internal affairs and is a supervisor in criminal intelligence.
Francis said that Butler, a 21-year veteran, and Shannon Hundley, a 16-year-veteran, work under Lavergne in criminal intelligence.
"We met with command staff this morning and adjusted work assignments and duties to cover these positions," Craft said Wednesday
Craft said the immediate subordinates of the officers placed on leave will assume their duties.
Randy Hundley, who has been with the department more than 30 years, has denied wrongdoing through his attorney.
June 1, 2006
Four La. officers on leave in probe of chief