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Newspaper, Kentucky sheriff at odds over guns

The Times-Tribune,, The Associated Press State & Local Wire

Whitley County, KY

A southeastern Kentucky sheriff's office says a break-in at the department has prevented it from responding to an open records request from a newspaper about how the agency handled seized guns.

The Corbin Times-Tribune reported that the Whitley County Sheriff's Office declined to respond to a records request because someone broke into the department on Dec. 21, leaving some records in disarray and others in possession of the Kentucky State Police.

The paper reported that it asked for records on Dec. 15 to show whether 18 guns seized during an arrest in 2004 were still at the sheriff's department or had been transferred to another agency.

Kentucky State Police Det. Bill Correll, who is leading the investigation into the break-in, said he's waiting for a list of guns that were taken from the sheriff's department.

Under state law, a government agency has three business days to respond to an open records request, though they may take longer to actually produce the records if needed.

Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge failed to formally respond during the three-day period, and on the fourth business day after the request was filed, the evidence locker inside the sheriff's office was burglarized

Josh Price, an office worker at the sheriff's department, told the newspaper the open records request could not be completed because of the ongoing break-in case.

"What's going on with that is of course, you know, our office was broken into, all of our records as of this point are involved with that case with the state police, so I don't know, as far as a time to give you, on when that will be completed, when they'll have that all finished," he said.

Correll said Hodge has been cooperating with the investigation.

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International Association for Property and Evidence
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