Dothan Police Chief Steve Parrish reacts to The New York Times article

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Houston and Henry County’s District Attorney Doug Valeska made headlines in the New York Times, but other agencies like the Dothan Police Department also mentioned in that report.
 
Chief Steve Parrish met with Shaila Dewan, one of the two reporters who worked the piece, multiple times here in Dothan.
 
He said one time they met for over two and a half hours because, “We’ve been transparent since the day I started and we’re going to continue to be that way.”
 
In the article, Dothan was described as “immune to change and defined by racial division.”
 
“I think it obviously portrays our area in a negative light it doesn’t make it look the way it really is,” said Parrish.
 
The majority of the article puts Valeska under scrutiny for his organization of the pretrial diversion program, which Parrish explains, “I always equate it to a mulligan in golf, a do- over.”
 
However, Valeska not the only one under fire in the article.
 
It also cites an accusation from the N.A.A.C.P. regarding over 100 affidavits sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for wrongful convictions, unfair prosecution, evidence planting and more.
 
But Parrish said he was the one responsible for the FBI investigation, in fact he sent the request to the bureau in Mobile on January 22.
 
“I requested they complete a full investigation into any allegations that were brought forth from the Dothan Police Department,” said Parrish.
 
An agent now has been there since September 8, and has been working several days every week.
 
“He has an office, he has a phone, he has full computer access to every internal file we have, every criminal case we’ve got,” said Parrish, “And he’s been meticulously going through all of the complaints and whatever he needs, he gets.”
 
Parrish said that once that investigation is over, hopefully early in 2017, he will release the full report to the public.
 
In the New York Times article, Valeska declined to comment, and we have reached out to get his comment to the article but have yet to hear back from him.
 
To read the full New York Times article, click here.

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