Invoice reveals questionable agreement between sheriff's office, - WSMV Channel 4

Invoice reveals questionable agreement between sheriff's office, contractor

Posted: Updated: Oct 13, 2015 07:03 PM
Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold
MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -

The Channel 4 I-Team has learned Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold entered into contracts that county leaders knew nothing about.

Authorities are now investigating equipment purchased in a puzzling manner.

There's nothing unusual about packages being delivered to the Rutherford County Jail, but a shipment delivered earlier this month is raising some questions.

"We're looking at holsters and lasers and Tasers," Rutherford County Mayor Ernest Burgess said. "And this is the first I've seen of this."

Burgess was not happy about an invoice that shows the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office received more than $15,000 worth of special equipment, including stun guns.

Stun guns are used by law enforcement as an alternative to lethal force. There's nothing unusual about the purchase, rather the way they were bought.

The invoice said "ship to" the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office, but that's not who paid for the items.

They were bought by a company called Access Securepak. The company is related to a jail contractor called Keefe Commissary. They provide commissary items at the jail and the video visitation system. They do not normally sell stun guns.

Keefe Commissary nor the sheriff's office would answer why a jail commissary contractor is buying stun guns.

Some are asking if it was done to avoid the county's purchasing laws. The stun guns weren't put out for bid nor were they ever brought to the county's finance committee.

The I-Team also uncovered a contract amendment between Keefe Commissary and the sheriff's office that no one in the county knew about. It was signed by Arnold two years ago.

The contract amendment gives the sheriff's office a cut of the items sold at the jail. That cut is supposed to go back to the county, but the amendment allows the sheriff to use money for technology purposes.

Burgess said the sheriff doesn't have the authority to sign a contract like that.

"I think that the fundamental thing is whether the process is appropriate or not," Burgess said.

State law says violating purchasing processes can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor.

"We're very disappointed and discouraged about these events," Burgess said. "And we hope we can get to the bottom of it and regain the trust of our citizens."

Keefe Commissary is not related to JailCigs, a company providing electronic cigarettes to inmates in the Rutherford County Jail. JailCigs was founded by Arnold's relatives and his chief deputy.

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