Drug Squad Demotion

We now have the latest on an audit of the Thomas County Drug Squad. It reveals some improprieties. The squad commander is accused of not following standard procedures, and has been demoted.

Sheriff Carlton Powell says it's never easy addressing such matters with personnel, but to clear the air of some concerns he had about operations within the drug squad, he ordered an audit.

Powell says, "The audit did reveal some management problems, some areas we think that needed to be improved upon."

Powell says nothing illegal was going on, but there was mishandling of evidence. He didn't get into detail, but says there were standard procedures not being followed.

Now the commander of the drug squad, Guy Winkelmann, has been demoted.

Sheriff Carlton Powell says, "He has accepted another job with the department, but is no longer affiliated with the drug squad. Drug squads are scrutinized more closely than others, so we have to make sure we’re doing everything in the best possible way."

Powell says he seeks new direction for the drug squad and feels he appropriately addressed the problem.

Powell says, "From time to time you have to take a look at things and see if it's the best job that can be done."

He says that's what he's looking for; the best job resulting in a more efficient operation. He says the change is in the best interest of everyone involved.

Guy Winkelmann did not care to comment on the situation. Powell says for now Winkelmann has been reassigned as a road deputy.

Until Winkelmann's replacement is found, the drug squad will be operating under the Criminal Investigation Division of Thomas County Sheriff's Office.