Change of plans: Mayfield rescinds job offer to Cradduck

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Former Benton County sheriff Kelley Cradduck won’t be joining the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office after all.

The CCSO had confirmed on Thursday, Sept. 28, that Cradduck had been offered a position as a patrol sergeant, but Carroll County Sheriff Randy Mayfield issued a press release Friday afternoon saying that he and Cradduck agreed not to move forward.

“He and I spoke earlier today, and we both agree that it is in the best interest of all that he not be a deputy with the CCSO,” Mayfield said in the press release.

Mayfield’s announcement came after Carroll County Prosecuting Attorney Tony Rogers sent the sheriff a letter sharply criticizing the initial decision to hire Cradduck.

“I never imagined that I would be writing to give this particular piece of advice, but I feel it is incumbent upon me to state to you the obvious: hiring individuals who are charged with enforcing the law and who themselves have criminal history is bad practice,” Rogers wrote. “At the very least it is certainly a disservice to the citizens of this county who depend on you to protect and to serve.”

Cradduck, 46, resigned as sheriff of Benton County in April 2016, the same month in which he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor tampering charge.

Cradduck was sentenced to six months of unsupervised probation and ordered to pay $670 in court costs.

Cradduck’s no-contest plea was part of an agreement with prosecutors, who dropped a

felony charge of tampering with public documents.

Cradduck was accused of ordering employees in the sheriff’s office to alter payroll records. The felony charge also involved paperwork related to an employee in the county jail.

The misdemeanor conviction was later expunged, but Rogers said in his letter to Mayfield that Cradduck’s involvement in any case would make the case more difficult to prosecute. Rogers said the prosecutor’s office would be compelled to disclose Cradduck’s conviction to opposing counsel, regardless of the expungement.

“Being that you are apparently hiring Cradduck in a supervisory position, any case in which he operates as a supervisor will likewise be damaged,” Rogers’ letter says. “Furthermore, the presence of Cradduck in any position in the Sheriff’s Office damages the reputation and credibility of the officers who may have impeccable pasts and qualifications; I have trouble understanding why you would ever damage your other officers and the people of this county in such a way. Should you allow Cradduck to be involved in any case in any capacity, you are knowingly preventing proper prosecution of that offense from the outset. This matter will be taken most seriously by this office.”

Rogers said by telephone Friday that the sheriff’s office didn’t contact him before extending a job offer to Cradduck.

“There’s no consultation with our office about the impact on criminal cases down the road,” he said. “I’m just concerned that this hire was made completely unvetted. I’ll leave it at that.”

In his press release, Mayfield noted that Cradduck’s conviction was expunged and pointed to his experience as a law enforcement officer. The Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training voted 4-3 on Aug. 31 to allow Cradduck to keep his certification as a law enforcement officer in Arkansas.

“Mr. Cradduck has a wealth of experience as a law enforcement supervisor and administrator,” Mayfield said in his press release. “It has been well reported in the media that prior to losing his primary race for sheriff, he pled no contest, and received probation for a misdemeanor charge of tampering. That charge has since been expunged from his record. As a matter of law, an expungement means that such conduct never occurred. Based upon Mr. Cradduck’s experience and clear criminal and driving record, I offered Mr. Cradduck the patrol sergeant position in CCSO. Many have since expressed their concern about Mr. Cradduck serving with the CCSO. I have heard and respect these concerns, as has Mr. Cradduck.”

CCSO Chief Deputy Maj. George Frye said Monday that Cradduck will not be employed by the sheriff’s office in any capacity.

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