I hesitate to call attention to this news story from Northeast Arkansas, where the state Ethics Commission waded — properly — into (mis)use of public office so some local cops could get special treatment on purchase of high-powered special guns.
Why hesitate? Because the legislature is busy enacting everything it can to hold guns holy. In church. In church schools. Exempt from the FOI. Protecting gun sellers from legal action. Protecting gun traders from dealings with the wrong sorts of people. Working to prevent destruction of guns seized in crime. More guns is always the solution to any ill for the current extremist legislature. So they'd probably feel sorry for a former Salem police chief, Albert Roork, and officer Terry Walker, fined by the Ethics Commission for claiming official use for gun purchases from a Florida company when they actually just wanted guns for themselves and to resell to others, including a local sheriff, Buck Foley.
"I should have known better. Bottom line is, I screwed up," Roork explained when contacted about the ethics complaint. "Me and Patrolman Walker had been wanting some specialty guns from Kel-Tec and tried for a long time to get them. Distributors laughed at us, they said the demand for the guns is so high it was going to be a long wait."
Because Walker is a federally licensed fire arms dealer, they decided to contact Kel-Tec directly and, even though it has a huge list of backorders to fill, Roork said the company was receptive. According to Roork, the Salem officers explained they were buying the guns for individual use but, "They said, 'we will stop the line for a police order.'" Roork and Walker placed an order for themselves for a specialty handgun that will hold 30 rounds and a small shotgun that will hold 14 rounds. They also ordered some of the weapons for other local officers that wanted them, and some small concealed carry pistols.
The complaint was brought by Doug Neindick, a former Salem officer who's sued the city. Whatever the background, he's on point here.
Neindick, who continued to live in Salem until recently moving to Mountain Home, said he learned of the gun sales from people who had been approached to buy the guns intended for law enforcement. He made no apology for filing the complaint. "They got the weapons at a discount and got them right away, while regular people have to place an order and wait for months (to get their guns), " Neindick said. "Law enforcement officers should not take advantage of the system, and the Ethics Commission found they did," Neindick said.
The case naturally makes you wonder about use of official positions by others hoping to move to the head of the line in gun purchasing. And about floating purchases through public accounts.
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