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Baton Rouge Police

A narcotics detective has resigned from the Baton Rouge Police Department months after he was arrested for buying stolen property, allegations that prompted him to accuse his colleagues of even more serious misconduct. 

Jeremiah Ardoin announced his departure Tuesday, leaving his job amid an ongoing corruption probe launched after he made allegations against other detectives.

"I cannot continue to successfully serve the Baton Rouge community while in a work environment where I must constantly watch my back in fear of retaliation," he wrote in a resignation letter. 

After receiving a misdemeanor summons in December, Ardoin wrote a memo to the chief alleging widespread misconduct within the BRPD narcotics division, including at the leadership level. Weeks later, investigators arrested another detective, Jason Acree, who was accused of stealing marijuana seized as evidence and giving the drugs to a friend. He was booked into jail on possession with intent to distribute and malfeasance in office.

In addition to accusing Acree of stealing drugs from the evidence room, the memo claimed narcotics officers routinely stopped and searched Black people without probable cause, planted drugs on suspects and coerced prostitutes into setting up drug dealers.

Not long after Acree was arrested, BRPD transferred four narcotics supervisors to street patrols, effectively cutting the division in half, removing its leadership and suspending normal operations.

Ardoin wrote in the memo that supervisors sometimes participated in the misconduct and actively tried to cover it up. 

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His attorney, Ron Haley, said in a statement Tuesday that Ardoin will continue to fight for justice. The resignation letter ends with a commendation of certain members of the police force.

"The Baton Rouge Police Department is full of some of the best officers and detectives in the nation who work hard to protect the men and women of this city," he said.

Ardoin served the department for a dozen years before stepping down this week. His decision to quit came before the chief issued a disciplinary ruling, though termination was a likely outcome since he was accused of violating criminal law.

He and Acree had both been on administrative leave since their arrests, which prompted East Baton Rouge prosecutors to dismiss over 100 pending drug cases that centered on testimony from the disgraced officers.

The sheer number of dropped charges also raised questions about whether some detectives were focusing on achieving a high volume of low-level drug arrests, rather than conducting large-scale drug trafficking investigations and bringing charges against the small group of dealers running the show.

Chief Murphy Paul said this month he assigned investigators to audit the entire narcotics division. He said some changes are on the horizon but declined to elaborate.


Email Lea Skene at lskene@theadvocate.com.