The Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office is investigating allegations of perjury against a high-ranking officer at the Fort Smith Police Department.

The Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office is investigating allegations of perjury against a high-ranking officer at the Fort Smith Police Department.


Little Rock attorney Matthew Campbell has requested the charges be brought against Capt. Jarrard Copeland, who works in the department’s professional standards division and is the assistant commander of the department’s criminal investigation division.


On Jan. 20, Campbell sent a letter and an affidavit to Sebastian County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Shue requesting his office to investigate the charges.


In the affidavit, Campbell alleges that Copeland lied under oath about an internal investigation that led to the firing of former Fort Smith police officer Don Paul Bales, whom Campbell represents.


The affidavit alleges Copeland provided false testimony during a hearing in August related to a whistle-blower lawsuit Campbell filed in January 2014 on behalf of Bales, Cpl. Wendall Sampson Jr. and Sgt. Rick Entmeier.


The three officers have stated that they were fired or disciplined because of their efforts to uncover illegal activity within the department.


Eventually, the lawsuit was dismissed, and Campbell has appealed the ruling.


In his request to Shue, Campbell states that Police Department documents show that Copeland was aware that Bales, Entmeier and Sampson were suspects in the internal investigation, but that at the hearing, Copeland testified that the three were not suspects in the investigation.


"His false testimony was in regard to a material fact that was integral in the court reaching its decision," Campbell stated in the letter, adding that "all of the elements of perjury" as defined by Arkansas law "appear to have been met."


Shue reviewed Campbell’s request and sent a reply stating he would not conduct the investigation.


In his reply, Shue said his office does not pursue felony charges on citizen complaints "unless an offense report is made, an investigation is conducted, and a law enforcement officer comes to my office to request a felony arrest warrant."


He suggested Campbell reach out to the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office or the Arkansas State Police to file an offense report.


On Jan. 27, Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck and Shue met with Circuit Judge James O. Cox in reference to allegations.


At the meeting, Hollenbeck was asked by Cox to review the transcripts and interview involved parties, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office. Cox also asked for a report to be returned to him for a decision.


"We don’t take this responsibility lightly, so we forge forward, we look for the facts and let them fall where they fall," Hollenbeck said in the release.


Hollenbeck stated that his office is in the process of conducting the investigation in a fair and professional manner. He added that several subjects need to be interviewed and an abundance of documentation needs to be analyzed before the investigation is complete.


Copeland supplied each member of Fort Smith’s board of directors with a stack of papers responding to Campbell’s allegations Tuesday night during a Town Hall meeting following the regular city board meeting.


"You can chunk it, whatever you want to do with it," Copeland said. "But if I was a city director, I would be concerned about these allegations. They are extremely serious allegations about me, who is a captain of a police department over the office of professional standards whose duty it is to seek misconduct out and investigate it. So if I was you, I’d want to know what’s going on with it."


Copeland told directors that for the past 2½ years, Campbell "made it his point to do everything he can to find corruption in the Fort Smith Police Department.


"It’s been very difficult for us to sit back and watch those allegations fly all over social media, all over the newspapers, all over the TVs, and not say anything," he said. "It’s tough to sit back and watch somebody degrade the department you’re especially proud of and not say anything back."


Copeland said that on Jan. 20, Campbell "chose to attack me personally."


"It goes against everything I was ever raised to believe in to sit back and let somebody attack me and not say something about it," Copeland said. "I’ve been here 24 years. I make mistakes, and I will continue to make mistakes. I’ll make the wrong decisions sometimes. But I guarantee you I will tell the truth every time. I did not commit perjury. Never have, never will."


Copeland added that, "There’s no corruption in this department."


"It’s my job to find it if there is, and I’m telling you there’s not," he said.


At-Large Director Don Hutchings thanked Copeland for speaking up.


Times Record reporter Chad Hunter contributed to this report.