January 26, 2018
SUBJECT: Charges of obstruction of legal hunting filed against 6th District Wildlife Commissioner and Commission Chairman Jimmy Bevins……
Charges of obstruction and interference filed against KDFWR Law Enforcement Colonel Rodney Coffey and Captain Richard Skaggs.
LEAGUE OF KENTUCKY SPORTSMEN (LKS) POSITION STATEMENT
Based upon careful fact-finding, interviews, and open records requests, the LKS, representing the sportsmen and women of Kentucky, and in response to present public outcry of the outdoor community of this Commonwealth, has little choice but to call for Governor Matt Bevin to remove KDFWR Commission Chairman Jimmy Bevins from the Wildlife Commission of Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR). The LKS also calls on the KDFWR to take appropriate and immediate actions against Captain Richard Skaggs, and to replace Colonel Coffey in a timely manner. The new colonel must be able to interact and work effectively with officers and members of the Kentucky Conservation Officers Association (KCOA). We also call for the immediate reinstatement to active duty of the officers placed on administrative leave who are involved in this case.
As mentioned, much fact finding, documentation, and verification has taken place by the LKS. As longtime supporters of KDFWR and its many programs benefitting fish, wildlife, and all our citizens, we value a good relationship with the Department as deeply as we value our obligation to represent the best interests of our sportsmen and women who fund this Department. In taking our present position on this matter, we believe the following to be true, based on findings of the Executive Branch Ethics Commission, investigative reporting by the Lexington Herald-Leader, open records information and personal interviews:
- Complaining of legal waterfowl hunting too close to his property, Commissioner Bevins baited his property and/or an easement area adjacent to his property to discourage or render unlawful, the present legal hunting on the creek area. Advised that this could constitute a violation (interference of legal hunting), he did so anyway.
- Officer Josh Robinson cited Bevins for illegal baiting, and attempting to close off the area to legal hunting. (Interference of legal hunting).
- Colonel Rodney Coffey and Captain Richard Skaggs interfered with the investigation and efforts to refer the case to the appropriate prosecutor, to protect Mr. Bevins and afford him special treatment.
- Several officers and members of KCOA were placed on administrative leave in order to remove them from participation, discussion, etc. of any and all KDFWR law enforcement matters. These officers were charged with various “infractions” of procedural protocol in old cases brought up to discredit them and to silence them in this case. The LKS contends the timing of this with the Bevins case is a clear indication of harassment and retaliation against these officers.
- In view of the entire case, the LKS believes Colonel Coffey and Captain Skaggs likely did not act alone or independently regarding interference in the prosecution of Mr. Bevins. After more investigation, should additional names come to light, the LKS calls for the public disclosure, discipline and/or removal of such individuals, no matter who, no matter what positon they hold.
Regardless of the outcome of his upcoming trial, the LKS calls for the resignation/removal of Mr. Bevins. Otherwise, the KDFWR may suffer from an image of (at best) being dysfunctional or (at worst) being corrupt, in the eyes of the general public, the media, legislators, and the sportsmen and women of Kentucky. The LKS supports this agency and urges appropriate action to preserve its integrity.
The LKS further urges Mr. Bevins be disqualified from any further activity, participation, or influence in the business matters of the KDFWR, the Tourism, Arts, and
Heritage Cabinet, or any other board, commission, or agency in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
We invite comments and feedback from all concerned. Contact us at:
The League of Kentucky Sportsmen