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Investigation finds some Taylorsville officers have problematic pasts

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Officer Ken Bledsoe (left) and Officer Todd Walls (Source: City of Taylorsville, KY) Officer Ken Bledsoe (left) and Officer Todd Walls (Source: City of Taylorsville, KY)
Former officer Sparky Schultz (Source: Shelby County Detention Center) Former officer Sparky Schultz (Source: Shelby County Detention Center)
Chief Toby Lewis (left) and Mayor Don Pay Chief Toby Lewis (left) and Mayor Don Pay

TAYLORSVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A WAVE 3 News investigation has revealed that three officers who worked for the Taylorsville Police Department in the last year have problematic pasts.

Officers Todd Walls and Ken Bledsoe continue to work for Taylorsville Police. The chief said Walls and Bledsoe have performed "very well." A third officer, Sparky Schultz, was fired last year.

Walls has a 1996 conviction for misdemeanor sexual misconduct, while Bledsoe was fired from the former Louisville Police Department in 1987 after internal affairs investigators found he lied to them about harassment claims by his ex-girlfriend. The information was obtained from personnel files through Kentucky's Open Records law.

Walls and Bledsoe referenced the cases on their Taylorsville job applications. Asked to explain why city officials decided to hire them, Chief Toby Lewis said the officers deserved a second chance, years after their documented issues.

"They certainly do raise red flags," Lewis said, after canceling two scheduled interviews. "So, we check further into their background. Everybody makes a mistake. Have you not made a mistake, sir? And if you have made a mistake such as that, then people deserve a second chance once in awhile."

Lewis said he recommends whether to hire a job applicant, but the Taylorsville City Commission ultimately makes the decision.

Leslie Gannon, executive director of the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council, said the practice of hiring officers with problematic pasts is legal in Kentucky, as long as an officer hasn't been convicted of a felony.

Walls listed the misdemeanor on his 2007 application to Taylorsville. Metro records indicate he resigned his position at the former Louisville Police Department about three months before the conviction.

"I don't want to cause the department any more embarrassment, and I am sorry for the embarrassment I have caused my friends, family and fellow officers," Walls wrote in a resignation letter dated May 28, 1996.

When asked for comment, Walls said, "That's in the past. I'm not talking to you all about that," and hung up the phone.

Walls later worked for the West Buechel Police Department, where his file indicates he had several commendations.

Bledsoe's Louisville Metro personnel file reveals former Chief Richard Dotson fired Bledsoe after an internal affairs investigation. Dotson called Bledsoe's actions "cruel and mean" toward an ex-girlfriend, who had complained to police. Dotson also wrote that Bledsoe had been "deliberately deceitful" during the resulting investigation.

Bledsoe said he had lied to investigators, but only because he wanted to protect his family from having to testify in a department hearing.

His Taylorsville personnel file includes commendations and a complaint.

The U.S. Postal Service wrote a letter to Bledsoe saying he trespassed on the Postal Service property at 1420 Gardiner Lane in June 2013. Employees called Metro Police, who found "several weapons" on Bledsoe and in his car, wrote Mark Hulme Senior Manager of Distribution Operations, in the letter. Hulme said Bledsoe must stay off the property or face penalties. Hulme also told Bledsoe that carrying a weapon on federal property is illegal.

Bledsoe said he had gone to the Post Office to talk to a neighbor with whom he is engaged in a dispute, saying the neighbor's wife threatened him. Bledsoe said he only had one gun, his service weapon, which he always carries because it's department policy.

Schultz was convicted last fall for second degree wanton endangerment. Spencer County Sheriff's deputies said he got drunk during an August argument with his wife and picked up a gun with his child, a minor, in the same room, according to a police report. The Taylorsville City Commission voted unanimously to fire him in September.

Reached on the phone, Schultz called the incident "a low point" in his life, but said he has been receiving alcoholic treatment and has been sober since shortly after the incident.

Schultz, Walls and Bledsoe all declined on-camera interviews. Taylorsville Mayor Don Pay said he couldn't comment about the various cases because of privacy concerns.

"Anytime you're dealing with people, they do have privacy rights, and that's what I have to respect, and I'm bound by that," Pay said. "The only thing I can tell you is just to draw your own conclusions."

According to Lewis, the Taylorsville department has four full-time and three part-time officers.

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