Covering Louisiana

Nov 1, 2010 4:05 PM by Katie Durio

Vidalia Police Chief Charged with Making False Statement to Federal Agents

SHREVEPORT, La. - United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that
Ronald G. "Tapper" Hendricks, Chief of Police of Vidalia, La., was charged with making false
statements to federal law enforcement agents in the course of an investigation into the use and
disposition of certain firearms at the Vidalia Police Department. The charge is outlined in a bill of
information filed today with the United States District Court in Alexandria, La.
The bill of information alleges that earlier this year FBI and ATF agents were investigating
Hendricks for possible violations of federal firearms laws; specifically, whether Hendricks had
transferred a fully-automatic machine gun owned by the Vidalia Police Department to the custody of
an individual or individuals for non-law enforcement use at the Rifle Point Hunting Club, a private
hunting club in Ferriday, La. The federal agents were also investigating whether Hendricks had
removed certain firearms from the custody of the Vidalia Police Department Evidence Room and
subsequently gave those firearms to friends and acquaintances as gifts.

As part of the investigation, federal agents interviewed Hendricks last February. The bill of
information alleges that Hendricks knowingly and willfully made three material false statements during
the interview: 1) Hendricks denied transferring a fully automatic machine gun owned by the Vidalia
Police Department to the custody of an individual or individuals at the Rifle Point Hunting Club, when
in truth and in fact he had done so for use by members and guests of the club; 2) Hendricks falsely
claimed that one of the individuals to whom custody of the machine gun was transferred was a
Reserve Police Officer of the Vidalia Police Department whom he had sworn in at an unofficial
ceremony to which there were no witnesses, when in truth and in fact there was no such ceremony and
the individual is not a Reserve Police Officer; and 3) Hendricks falsely claimed that the individual
described above signed an oath of office form related to the alleged swearing in prior to receiving the
machine gun, when in truth and in fact the individual had never signed such an oath of office form.
False statements to a government agent is a felony offense and carries a maximum penalty of
five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.
A court date has not yet been set. An information is merely an accusation, and a defendant is
presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case was investigated jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and is being prosecuted by William J. Flanagan, Counsel
to the United States Attorney, and Nicole O. Snyder, Assistant United States Attorney.

 

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