Sheriff’s office gets info on arrest out quickly

Published 7:18 pm Thursday, October 5, 2017

In today’s edition of the LaGrange Daily News, we wrote about the arrest of a man who allegedly stole more than $1,800 from inmate account funds while working at the Troup County Jail.

Jason Hudgins, who worked as a detention officer for the Troup County Sheriff’s Office until resigning Sept. 27, was arrested and charged with theft by taking and was booked into the Troup County Jail, a place he undoubtedly knows well.

According to Sheriff James Woodruff, Hudgins admitted to taking the funds after a routine audit from Kimble’s Food by Design revealed the money was missing.

He will now go through the legal process, which will determine whether he is guilty or innocent. We’ll let that process run its course before passing any judgement.

However, it’s unfortunate any time an officer of the law is charged with a crime, and this is obviously a very serious one.

The majority of law enforcement officers in this country go to work and do the right thing. That includes Troup County and the sheriff’s deputies, police officers, firefighters and marshal’s office workers, all of whom protect and defend us daily. We’ve written about many of the people who serve our county through law enforcement through our first responder of the week story series, and we look forward to writing about others in the future. All of the people we’ve met have had many stories to tell and have been extremely welcoming.

Many of them spent hours Tuesday night playing games and interacting with the public at National Night Out.

Nothing is more important in law enforcement than the public’s trust. Every time an officer breaks the law it gives people a chance to doubt officers, regardless of whether it’s a person working at the jail or someone with a higher ranking.

That’s unfair, but it’s also the truth.  Nobody knows that more than the officers themselves, whom we’re sure are more upset than anyone that this happened in our county. However, it would be wrong to allow one alleged bad decision to describe all of our officers. From what we know, the majority, if not all of them, are good people and do the best they can at their jobs every single day. Mistakes undoubtedly happen, just as they do in any profession, but the people we’ve met respect their position and do the best they can to uphold the high standards expected of them.

The sheriff’s office reported this information quickly to the public and Sheriff James Woodruff, as he always is, was very open to talking about the seriousness of what happened. Hudgins had not yet been booked into the jail when the press release was sent out to the media, detailing the information available.

That’s the side of these stories the public doesn’t get to see, but it’s worth shedding a light on. By the time Hudgins was booked, we’d already talked to the sheriff and had a story online.

We applaud the sheriff’s office for jumping on this situation swiftly, while also dispersing the information quickly.