Two of Grambling State’s "finest" were arrested Monday and charged with three counts each of malfeasance and two counts of theft.
Officers Margo Malone, 33, and Dewarne Jackson, 29, were taken into custody and transported to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center, and bond was set at $23,500. Both officers posted bond shortly after their arrest and were released.
June 4 is the hearing date set for Malone and Jackson.
According to GSU Police Chief Jefferson Walker, Jackson has been suspended without pay and Malone has been terminated. Jackson has been with GSUPD for 2 1/2 years and Malone had been with the department for seven months.
The officers’ arrests came after Lincoln Parish deputies concluded an extensive undercover operation, which was prompted by motorists’ complaints of the officers extorting money from them after traffic stops. Jefferson said complaints came from students and nonstudents.
According to Lincoln Parish Sheriff Mike Stone, the investigation of the pair started in January when motorists complained that they had been stopped by the officers and were asked to give cash in exchange for not receiving citations or being arrested.
Other motorists complained that items had been stolen out of their cars during the traffic stop or after they had been placed under arrest. Stone said the investigation was conducted in conjunction with the Louisiana State Police and with the full cooperation of the command staff of the GSUPD.
Some of the charges stem from the two officers’ encounter with an undercover agent who was stopped on the GSU campus, Stone said. The undercover officer allegedly had money stolen out of his car during the traffic stop and then was asked for cash to avoid charges.
Many GSU students were enraged at the fact that two "crooked cops" were allowed to be on the job for so long without being detected.
"I am even more unsettled around cops now because of these two individuals," said graduate student Godwin Herron. "I just can’t see any reason why or how not one but two crooked cops were on a police force so small in numbers."
One student said he had dealt with one of the officers during what was supposed to be a routine traffic stop and the officer was highly unprofessional.
"I do not have a hard time accepting the fact that these two cops were corrupt," said senior Boyon Butler. "From my experiences with them, it’s not so far of a stretch."
Chief Walker said campus police "will be held to the highest standard."
"In my tenure as police chief, I have seen this before," he said. "It’s very unfortunate that this happened at Grambling, but we will not tolerate such acts or any other acts that are in violation of the law, professionally and ethically."
Walker said the investigation is continuing.