LaFayette Police Chief Kenny Vines has informed city leadership that he will step down from his post effective this Friday, February 20.
At the February 9 LaFayette City Council meeting, Mayor Barry Moody announced that Chief Vines would be retiring from the force after he was fined for perjury and presenting false documents during his divorce proceedings.
Moody said at the time that no timetable had been set on Chief Vines’ departure and that he would stay on with the department to assist with administrative duties and the transition to a new chief.
However, on Friday, Chief Vines was indicted by the Chambers County Grand Jury on perjury charges. When Vines was informed of the indictment, he immediately reached a plea agreement with the District Attorney’s office.
On Monday, E. Paul Jones, District Attorney for the Fifth Circuit and Damon W. Lewis, Chief Assistant District Attorney released a statement regarding the case. “On February 13, 2015 Chief Kenny Vines of the LaFayette Police Department entered a plea. The plea was an immediate response by Vines to the notice that he had been indicted by the Chambers County Grand Jury for the charge of perjury in the second degree. Perjury, second degree, a class A misdemeanor, is committed when a person swears with the intent to mislead a public servant in the performance of his duty and his false statement is material to the action, proceeding, or matter involved. Vines’ statement arose out of a court action while under oath. Vines pled guilty as indicted and received a six-month sentence suspended over a 12-month period. He was assessed court costs and he relinquished his APOST certification immediately upon signing the plea agreement,” the release stated.
Vines told The LaFayette Sun Monday that he was surprised and was unaware before Friday that his case was being brought before the Grand Jury.
While it may seem like Vines is being charged for the same crime twice or “double jeopardy,” Chief Assistant DA Lewis said they are two different cases.
On January 20, 2015, Circuit Judge Ray Martin fined Vines $100 and ordered him to serve five days in jail, which was suspended with the payment of the fine, for perjury and presenting false documents during divorce proceedings. That charge by Judge Martin was actually for contempt of court. The Grand Jury indictment was for the actual crime of perjury committed during the divorce proceedings.
Vines, who has clearly been hurt by the events over the past few weeks, had tentatively planned to step down on April 1, but Monday he decided it was best to move on.
“I am thankful and forever indebted to the residents of this great city for allowing me to serve this community for 30 years,” Vines said. “It has been a privilege to serve all the great citizens of LaFayette. I have enjoyed my relationships with the city’s elected and appointed officials and, most particularly, my relationships with the fine law enforcement professionals of the LaFayette Police Department.
“I leave them confident in the knowledge that I always have endeavored to make significant contributions to their professional development. I am hopeful that they will continue to maintain high levels of integrity and professionalism and that my successor will build on the foundations that we have set during my tenure. Our department members have made many great accomplishments.
“As many of you know, retirement is only another way to say transition. I always will be actively engaged in our community, our school system and our churches. My mission is to continue to work hard to make this city the best it can be. As I move on to the next chapter of my life, I will be forever grateful to all my family, friends and fellow citizens for their love and support.”
Mayor Moody said the city has already begun the process of searching for a new Police Chief. He added that citizens would be updated on the progress of the search and the transition taking place within the LaFayette Police Department.