Harris addresses escalating rumors
by Rachel Davis
May 05, 2013 | 3553 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Winston County Sheriff Rick Harris is hitting back against rumors that have been circulating recently about him, his department and other Winston County officials.

According to a statement released by Harris Friday, he was informed of possible misconduct by a former employee. Following this, Harris contacted the Winston County District Attorney’s Office and the Alabama Bureau of Investigation. An investigation was opened into the allegations. Because the investigation is ongoing, the ABI prevents Harris, or anyone involved with the investigation from commenting on specific details of the allegations. Although he can’t comment on the person or people involved or the specifics of the allegations, Harris said that he wanted to make a statement regarding the rumors due to the volume of calls he has received and the wide-reach of the rumors.

“What I can put to rest is that neither your sheriff, any Winston County Sheriff’s Office employee, nor any Winston County Official either elected or appointed, nor any other citizen of Winston County has been arrested,” Harris said in his statement. “Any information you have heard otherwise is totally, and unequivocally false. I want to remind everyone that this investigation is active and that any accusation made that could be interpreted as libel or slanderous and could possibly result in civil or even criminal repercussion. Please let this investigation that I have requested continue its course without hindrance fueled by rumor and misinformation.”

Harris also said in the statement that the ABI will make their final report available to him and the public when the investigation is concluded.

“If the investigation determines that a crime has been committed, I assure you that the appropriate arrest will be made,” Harris’ statement continued. “I do not take lightly the faith you have placed in me and my employees and I will not tolerate such misconduct. Since being elected I have personally overseen the arrest of three Winston County Sheriff Office employees and would not hesitate to take appropriate action in this case when it becomes necessary.”

Harris ended his statement by saying he wanted to apologize to those who he feared could have been hurt by the rampant rumors.

“I want to apologize to any county officials, my employees, my friends, my wife, and the many other Winston County citizen that have been embarrassed and have had their reputation and good names questioned by those who chose to spread false information,” Harris said.