Police Chief Dewayne White said Thursday he has launched an internal investigation into the department’s sale of 64 guns to a Lafayette police and hunting supply store.
The sale, which happened last year prior to White being named chief, violated state bidding laws, White has said.
The guns, all of which were for police use, were sold to Barney’s Police and Hunting Supplies in September 2010 for a store credit of $7,565, White has said.
Sixty-one of the weapons were Smith & Wesson revolvers and were sold for between $75 and $150 each, police documents show. A Taurus revolver was sold for $75, a High Standard derringer was sold for $40 and a Cobray M-11A1 compact machine gun was sold for $200, the documents show.
The credit for the guns was still on Barney’s books this month when the Police Department’s Special Response Team was looking into purchasing new weapons, White has said. “It’s unusual to have any credit,” the chief has said. “That’s when I began to look closer into the issue.”
White, named chief in June, discovered that on Aug. 24, 2010, the Police Department sold 400 surplus guns to Barney’s.
The sale went through the bidding process and Barney’s made the law enforcement agency the best offer, he has said.
Less than a month later, on Sept. 15, the department sold 64 additional surplus weapons to Barney’s, White has said. That sale, however, did not go through the bidding process.
White has said he does not believe those involved in the transaction — including his predecessor Jeff LeDuff — intended to break the law.
But, police spokesman Sgt. Don Stone said, the chief launched an internal investigation to make sure all departmental policies were followed.
During the course of that investigation, if it’s determined laws were violated, detectives will be brought in and a criminal investigation will be launched, Stone said.
Currently, no one has been disciplined in the incident, White has said. However, Barney’s will be asked to return the $7,565, he has said.
If the money is returned, it will go to the city-parish general fund, White has said. It will not come back to the Police Department, he has said.
Barney’s was not asked to return any of the 64 weapons, White has said. The status of those weapons, whether they’ve been sold, is not known.
Calls made to LeDuff and Barney’s were not returned.