SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Shreveport's mayor and fire chief addressed the arrests of three Shreveport firefighters since Friday in a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
37-year-old Billy Glass was taken into custody early Tuesday afternoon and booked into the Shreveport City Jail on a warrant charging him with one count each of cruelty to the infirm and principal to prostitution. Those are the same charges two other firefighters already in custody in connection with the investigation.
50-year-old Derrick Harris was arrested on Friday, and 26-year-old Clint Richardson was taken into custody on a warrant on Monday. Both are being held on $105,000 bond.
The three firefighters have been placed on paid administrative leave by SFD Fire Chief Craig Mulford, who made a point of Tuesday to stress that the allegations involve one shift at Fire Station 8.
"While I won't get into the details of the internal or the criminal investigation, I will say that this all relates to a single shift at a single fire station and does not represent circumstances that can be attributed to any of the other 21 fire stations across the city. So let's not take out the broad brush and make assumptions across the board."
"I take these charges very seriously," continued Mulford, "and I want the honorable men and women who make up our fire department to know that I will not allow their department or their integrity to be compromised by any ill-advised actions taken by any accused few."
I also want to remind our citizens that we have devoted dedicated men and women who come to work every day prepared to serve and protect their lives and their property. Traditionally, fire stations have always been open to the public. We consider our workplace a shared space that's been entrusted to us by the citizens of Shreveport. So our goal is to always make our citizens comfortable at our fire stations, always feel welcome at our fire stations. At this point, I don't see us making a significant departure from the spirit of that practice. But this unfortunate set of circumstances provides good reason for me to pause - for us to pause - and to review how we operate and if necessary, take the steps needed to protect everyone involved. With us, public safety always comes first, always has come first and will not change."
Mulford says he's confident that the legal system will run its course and justice will be served. He says his department is fully cooperating with the investigation and taking the proper disciplinary steps as they proceed.
Mulford says he opened up this investigation internally on June 26, after he received a formal complaint. The fire chief also emphasized that what allegedly happened at Fire Station No. 8 "does not represent circumstances that can be attributed to any of the other 21 fire stations around the city. Still, he says "to say I'm disappointed would be an understatement."
Mulford vowed to take all measures necessary in terms of disciplinary action, should the allegations be proven true.
Police say investigators started looking into allegations of "criminal activity" at the Shreveport Fire Station in the 3400 block of Velva Street in late July of 2013. Glass is reportedly a 17-year veteran of the Shreveport Fire Department. Police have said more arrests are expected.