APD Chief Stanford Offers Holiday Safety Advice

November 27, 2018

Media Release
As we approach the holiday season we at the Ashland Police Department want everyone to be safe and enjoy the season, but to also be careful while doing so.

When you are out shopping, around town or out of town, always try to conceal the packages in your vehicle to prevent would be thieves from seeing what you have. If you are shopping alone, always grab your keys in your hands before exiting the store.

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Coin Toss Determines new Sheriff

We live in an era where almost anything is possible. A world made more of convenience as the days pass us by. Seems just about anything is possible. We’ve come leaps and bounds with medical technology, give voice commands to our phone to our bidding, and even drive electric cars. But even with all the technology, we can’t seem to solve our tied elections without a coin toss. 

After the November 6th election, Republican James “Jim” Studdard led the Clay County Sheriff race with 2675 votes over Democrat Henry Lambert’s 2668 votes, a difference of only 7 votes. Not many times in election history has the few provisional votes ever really made a difference, but this would be the case with 23 provisionals hanging in the balance determining the fate of our new Sheriff. 

At 12 noon today, Sheriff Ray Latham, Revenue Commissioner Ronald Robertson, Investigator Shanon House and Probate Judge Dianne Branch unsealed the 23 provisional votes and counted them before a small crowd inside the courtroom inside the Clay County Courthouse. Six of these votes were thrown out because the voter wasn’t registered to vote in Clay County.  And then, the unthinkable happened…a tie. Each candidate had 2680 votes. 

After a call to the Secretary of State and his attorney,  the standard protocol to determine a winner came down to a coin toss. Lambert offered the use of his quarter stating with a nervous joke that he had never been any good at gambling. For a second, neither of the candidates would call anything. Finally Studdard called heads. And with a flip of this historic coin by Sheriff Latham, heads it was as the coin dropped to the floor. Studdard was declared the unofficial winner.

Now, with an election this close, a recount will take place. It will begin at 9:00 am on Friday, Nov. 16 for an official winner. If, and only if, there was a runoff election between the two candidates, it would carry a price tag of approximately $50,000, but that is not even a factor in this contest. I’ll be there Friday as the recount takes place to bring you late breaking results. 

And just like that, our historic Clay County Courthouse becomes even more historic. This is the first election to ever end with a coin toss in our little county…

Our Congratulations are extended to Jim Studdard! 

Armed Robbery takes place at Ashland Dollar General

Press Release issued by Ashland Police Chief Joseph Stanford regarding the incident:

On November 5, 2018, the Ashland Police Department received a call from the Dollar General in Ashland, and the cashier stated that the store had been robbed at gun point.

Officer Griffin responded and made sure the scene was safe. He then notified Inv. Corey Dickinson, and Chief Joseph Stanford, and made them aware of the incident. Inv. Dickinson responded and he and Officer Griffin processed the scene. The matter is under investigation, and as more details become available they will be released to the public.

This is a great time to remind our businesses and store owners not to keep large amounts of cash on hand, or visible to would be criminals. It is the time of the year that we see a spike in these types of crimes, but we should always be vigilant in making sure that we harden our targets as much as possible. But if you are confronted with something similar, we ask that you comply with their requests and not try to be a hero. Money and objects can be replaced, but once life is gone it cannot be brought back.

We, at the Ashland Police Department, will work to prevent this from happening again, and we need your help in doing this. If you see something suspicious, please call us and we will check it out. We all love our small town, with its family appeal, and we want to keep it that way.

Challenging DNA of Human Remains ends 9-year Mystery

Clara Rogers

Remains found identified as missing Clay County Woman On July 09, 2010, Clara Vaughn Rogers, age 74, was reported missing from her home @ 4237 Cheaha Road, Munford, in the Northern most part of Clay County. Joseph Edward Rogers, husband, reported Clara Rogers missing at approximately 3pm that date. Mr. Rogers told Sheriff Alexander and Sheriff’s Investigators that he had last seen his wife around 8am that morning when he left the residence to cut grass and do yard work.

Upon returning, Mr. Rogers stated he could not locate his wife anywhere in the residence or on the property. Mr. Rogers stated all vehicles were accounted for and no one had been at the residence that day. Mr. Rogers told deputies his wife suffered from Dementia and had possibly wandered away from the house.

Sheriff’s deputies, Clay County Rescue Squad personnel and the Alabama Department of Public Safety Rotor Wing Search & Rescue personnel were dispatched to the mountainous wooded area around the Rogers Residence attempting to locate Mrs. Rogers. In all, personnel searched the wooded and mountainous area for approximately 3 days in an attempt to locate the missing woman. Those searches proved unsuccessful.

In June of 2011, Sheriff Latham organized a search effort with Cadaver K-9 and law enforcement personnel around the Roger’s residence. Later in 2011 and thru the spring of 2013, several efforts were made by Clay County Sheriff’s Deputies aided by members of the Talladega Sheriff’s Office, Lineville Police Department and Ashland Police Department in the search of Salt Creek and surrounding area of the Rogers home.

On June 1st 2013, a group of hikers were hiking Salt Creek Falls and found what appeared to be parts of human remains in Salt Creek just north of the falls in Clay County. Those remains were received by Sheriff’s Investigators and transported to the States Forensics Lab in Montgomery. Results to positively identify the identity was challenging.

Clay County Sheriff’s Investigators retrieved DNA samples from a Rogers family member in an effort for a more precise match. Those remains and the DNA samples were then transfered to the FBI Lab Quantico, Va.

A report to Clay County Sheriff’s Office from the FBI Lab dated September 27, 2018 confirmed that the remains found on June 1st, 2013 were the remains of the missing Clay County woman, Clara Vaugh Rogers. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rogers family as they are able to have closure in their time of sorrow, states Sheriff Latham.

Town Hall Meeting to be held on Courthouse Amendment

On Thursday, October 11, 2018, a community forum/town hall meeting will be held from 6:00-8:00 pm at the Clay County Farmer’s Market to discuss the amendment that will be on the November 5th ballot. 

This amendment states to vote yes or no to holding state court in the courthouse for as long as it is habitable.

The amendment has been the subject of much controversy due to lack of knowledge on this matter. Hopefully, this meeting will shed some light for the citizens so they can vote with knowledge.

The meeting will be conducted by a guest moderator and security will be provided. All citizens are encouraged to attend. 

The Silent Casualties of War; Johnny’s Story

By: Tammy Andrews

Every year, we give thanks, show our appreciation, and pay our respects for Veterans everywhere, past and present.  This one day a year seems like such a meager gesture for their honorable service to our country.

Continue reading The Silent Casualties of War; Johnny’s Story

Break-In Reported in Barfield area

Heads up in the Barfield area! A break-in occurred at a residence on Barfield Fire Department Rd in Lineville on Tuesday, September 4, 2018 sometime between the hours of 8:00 am-3:00 pm. Several items were taken and the house was ransacked.

The burglar(s) gained entry to the house by breaking a window pane. There are no suspects yet, although resident owners confirm there is evidence that may hopefully provide identity.

So, if you live in that area or traveling through and see any suspicious activity, please be sure to do your best to get to an accurate description and most of all, a tag number.  Please call Clay County Sheriff’s Office with any information, 256-354-2176.


Multiple Units Respond to Woods Fire

Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018- Millerville Volunteer Fire Department responded to a woods fire on Gilpin Rd around 1:00 pm. Millerville soon requested mutual aid from Tri-Community and Forestry. Approximately 6 to 8 acres burned before containment.

Possible Murder in Hunter Bend area

Randolph County experienced their first suspected homicide on Sunday, August 26, 2018. 

Tammy Louise Desjardin, age 38, of 115 Holland Drive, Wedowee, was arrested and charged in connection with the murder of her father, Melvin Reni Desjardin, age 77, who died as a result of a gunshot wound. 

This is all the details we have at this time, as Mr. Desjardin’s body has been sent off for autopsy. 

Please remember that all parties are presumed innocent until proven guilty. 

Ashland Elementary Placed On Brief Lockdown

UPDATED INFO: Second Release Regarding Lockdown at School

On August 30, Officers from the Ashland Police Department along with deputies from the Clay County Sheriff’s department responded to a hang up call going into 911, that was reportedly made from some where near the Ashland Elementary School. Officers were unable to prove anything was actually credible, and the school was taken off of lockdown before the school was scheduled to be dismissed.

After further investigation, it was determined that a watch was used from within the school to call 911 several times and raised the alarm. The watch was confiscated by the Ashland Police Department, and the child in question was to be sought on Friday, August 31, for questioning.
Because there was never a threat made, and no persons were in danger the school was released back to administrators and will reopen on Friday morning at regular time.

Continue reading Ashland Elementary Placed On Brief Lockdown