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Hopkins Co. Sheriff Hit with Cease and Desist Request from County Attorney

Hopkins County Attorney Todd P’Pool has slapped Sheriff Frank Latham with a cease and desist request after allegedly threatening legal action against the Madisonville Police Department over jurisdiction gripes.

P’Pool issued the request Tuesday at a regular meeting of the Hopkins County Fiscal Court.  P’Pool said Latham and Hopkins County Judge-Executive Donnie Carroll have recently threatened criminal indictments over arrests made in the county, despite MPD’s constitutional jurisdiction over the entire county.

“The Madisonville Police Department made a number of drug arrests in the past couple of months and my office was receiving feedback that the sheriff’s department was agitated by these arrests,” P’Pool said. “Why, I don’t know. It completely flies in the face of the oath and the spirit of law enforcement to catch bad guys.”

MPD chief Wade Williams sent P’Pool an email dated April 1 that details what Williams perceived to be threats of indictment against MPD officers. Williams writes that on Friday Carroll told Mayor David Jackson, “We may just have to indict someone for wasting taxpayer money.” Williams goes on to say that at a meeting later that same day, Latham made a veiled threat of legal action, saying “I remember a time when federal agents stepped into one of our investigations, they found their asses locked up.”

Carroll said he’s disappointed with P’Pool’s actions and that a deal to share information more effectively was struck between the county and city at that same Friday meeting.

“We did meet, the city and the county, at 2 p.m. on Friday, and reached an agreement where we would share information so that we both wouldn’t be working on the same cases,” Carroll said. “That’s what I was after. Let’s get back to doing business and serving the people of the county.”

Carroll said the contention between city and county police had been going on since September and has cost taxpayers money.

Carroll said he was surprised by P’pool’s move and wasn’t aware that the county attorney had any authority to issue a cease and desist.

“It’s a letter and he’s advising that, but what power he has I have no idea,” Carroll said. “I’m not in the legal business of that, but every order I’ve ever seen has to be signed by a judge.”

In the letter addressed to Latham, P’Pool writes, “It is my legal opinion that Hopkins County could be exposed to legal liability for malicious prosecution if you continue on this misguided course.”

Latham did not immediately return request for comment.

John Null is the host and creator of Left of the Dial. From 2013-2016, he also served as a reporter in the WKMS newsroom.
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