Photo of gun lock with Dean White's sticker on packaging from THV viewer.
Photo of gun lock federal funding notification from THV viewer.
LONOKE, Ark. (KTHV) - A complaint has been made about a Lonoke County sheriff's candidate using federally funded property to promote his campaign.
"I was given some gun locks to give out to the citizens." says Chief Deputy Dean White of Lonoke County Sheriff's Department and candidate a for Lonoke County Sheriff.
At Dean White's campaign booth at the Lonoke County Fair, someone handed out federally-funded gun locks with his campaign sticker on them.
"I took a look and sure enough they were sitting out," says Bill Pedersen, a Lonoke County citizen.
Pedersen says he snapped a picture of at least five lock laying on the table.
"He is giving them out to buy votes," says Pedersen.
The gun locks were in fact funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. They were to be used for a program called Project ChildSafe.
"The air force base was cleaning out a warehouse. Locks used to be stored out there and they had some that were damaged boxes. They were going to a public sale so he got some of them for me," says Chief Deputy White.
But White told a different story at a Lonoke County Quorum Court meeting last Thursday, the day of the county fair incident.
A citizen complained to a Quorum Court member who brought it up at the board meeting.
In a voice recording of the meeting White said: "A friend of mine found some in Pine Bluff and bought them at a sale and I put some out at the sheriff's office and I have some that they bought and gave to me." (Lonoke Justice of the Peace) "How many do you have ?" (White) "About six cases."
The Arkansas Ethics Commission would not comment specifically on this incident, but says the following two laws exist:
§ 7-1-103(a)(3) (A) It shall be unlawful for any public servant, as defined in § 21-8-402, to
use any office or room furnished at public expense to distribute any letters, circulars,
or other campaign materials unless such office or room is regularly used by members
of the public for such purposes without regard to political affiliation. It shall further
be unlawful for any public servant to use for campaign purposes any item of personal
property provided with public funds.
§ 21-8-304(a) No public servant shall use or attempt to use his or her official position to
secure special privileges or exemptions for himself or herself or his or her spouse,
child, parents, or other persons standing in the first degree of relationship, or for
those with whom he or she has a substantial financial relationship that are not
available to others except as may be otherwise provided by law.
"I put the lock out there for a good purpose. I'm embarrassed that some radicals have tried to turn something good and turn it as ugly as they've tried to turn it," says Chief Deputy White.
Follow Daniel on Twitter @dan_wilkerson.