Thursday, February 28, 2013

Madisonville Police Sergeant Jeffrey Covington Indicted in Public Corruption Case: The True Definition of a Dirty Cop

Madisonville, Texas

If you think a police officer would never tell a lie, or try to frame an innocent person, then you haven’t had the chance to meet Sgt. Jeffrey A. Covington.

A Madison County grand jury has indicted the local peace officer on public corruption and narcotics charges related to a disturbing scheme to plant methamphetamine on an innocent person. Jeffrey A. Covington, 37, is charged with delivery of a controlled substance, obstruction or retaliation, and official oppression.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case, after Madison County District Attorney Brian Risinger recused his office from the case.

Back in the summer of 2011, Covington allegedly attempted to recruit several narcotics informants to plant methamphetamine in the vehicle of an unsuspecting female. Court records reveal that the intended victim, Laura Covington, was the defendant’s ex-wife and had been engaged in a lengthy child custody battle with him.

According to state prosecutors, after the methamphetamine was planted in the victim’s vehicle, a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper was told that she used the vehicle to transport and distribute narcotics. Unaware of the defendant’s plot, the trooper later conducted a traffic stop and searched Ms. Covington’s vehicle. The search revealed the planted methamphetamine, which prompted the officer to arrest the victim and book her in the Madison County Jail for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. After taking over the case, Assistant Attorney General David Glickler formally notified Ms. Covington that the State would not pursue the case and the charge against her was dismissed.

Madisonville Police Chief Chuck May says, "I was surprised and dumbfounded and still at a loss for words after hearing of his indictments. Jeff was a good policeman and deserves his day in court, just like any other person would."

If convicted on the third-degree felony charge of obstruction or retaliation, Jeffrey Covington could face from two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The state jail felony charge of delivery subjects the defendant to a possible term of up to two years in a state jail and a fine not to exceed $10,000. The official oppression charge is a Class A misdemeanor.

It's kind of funny, to think that in 2011, Covington was named City Employee of the Year. Covington was named the city’s Employee of the Quarter during an April meeting of the Madisonville City Council. He was recommended by Madisonville Police Chief Gary Clendennen.

In his recommendation, Clendennen said Covington was chosen because he has had a “great impact on narcotics in this community, with and without the K9 unit.” Also, Clendennen said Covington has good working relationships with all co-workers. Also, said Clendennen, Covington treats all members of the community the same, without regard to age, sex, race or personal status. And Covington continues to keep up with all reports, citations and other paperwork as a part of his duties in the department, added the chief.

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