Ex fire marshal defends allegations, investigation underway

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 9:06pm

For nearly six months, ex Fire Marshal Butch Browning has been under investigation by the State Inspector General's Office.

"Last September, we received info from people working in Fire Marshal's Office, making serious allegations of potential misconduct," said Rafael Goyeneche, president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission.

The Metropolitan Crime Commission of New Orleans provided the Inspector General with documents to launch the investigation. The Crime Commission's president said they received info that Browning allegedly allowed employees who weren't qualified, the chance to buy firearms, designated for law enforcement purposes.

"And to do that," Goyeneche said, "he issued a temporary commission, allegedly, after purchasing weapons, he withdrew the commission."

During a phone interview, Browning unequivocally denied those allegations, saying there is no truth to them.

Neither the Inspector General, nor state police would comment on the nature of their investigation. Only that both agencies are running parallel, but separate investigations.

"Anytime there are complaints lodged against DPS employee, internal affairs starts an administrative review," said Lt. Doug Cain, Louisiana State Police.

The Inspector General said there is no time table on how long the investigation will last.

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