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Former Vinton police officer enters guilty plea

American Press,
Link to Article

Lake Charles, LA

A former Vinton assistant police chief has pleaded guilty to malfeasance.

Chad Porterfield, 35, of Vinton, entered his plea Monday in Lake Charles.

Porterfield's sentencing was set for July 6. He faces up to five years in prison. As part of a plea agreement, a charge of theft in excess of $500 was dropped.

Porterfield is attempting to repay the $150,396 stolen over an 18-month period from the Vinton Police Department evidence room, according to defense counsel and prosecutors.

Porterfield was arrested in December of 2008.

Auditors reported that the missing money was from evidence room and traffic-stop funds that were not entered into an accounting control system. They also stated Vinton police officers did not follow internal controls and that "proper supervision was not exercised."

Porterfield, who resigned from the department in December of 2008, served as assistant chief for two years and was the department's evidence custodian.

Because Porterfield was the sole evidence custodian, the missing money went undetected for more than a year, according to a state police report.

Vinton Police Chief Ricky Fox had called Porterfield a "trusted member of the department." Fox had worked with Porterfield since Fox became police chief in July 2005.

Porterfield is the second high-ranking Vinton police officer to have faced criminal charges in recent years.

Former Vinton Police Chief Billy Ray Vice was charged on April 15, 2005, with extortion, insurance fraud and malfeasance in office.

He was convicted of extortion in August of 2007 and sentenced to a suspended five year prison term with two years of probation, 100 days of community service and payment of court costs or 60 days in jail.
Porterfield testified as a state witness during Vice's trial.

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