LaHarpe chief fired after arrest

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News

March 23, 2018 - 11:00 PM

Ashley Wright

LAHARPE — LaHarpe City Council members unanimously voted to fire Police Chief Ashley Wright Thursday, two days following her arrest for interfering with law enforcement.

Council members said nothing publicly — they discussed the matter in executive session for 30 minutes prior to their vote — although Wright addressed a small audience that had gathered in City Hall to watch the proceedings.

Her arrest stemmed from her refusal to allow deputies to enter their home in the old LaHarpe Methodist Episcopal Church in order to arrest her husband on a warrant issued out of Haskell County, Texas.

David Wright fled from the house before deputies entered the residence. He was found hiding in a metal shed near LaHarpe City Park a short time later.

He’s accused of refusing to return his badge following his firing as Rule, Texas, police chief in October 2015. Allen County Sheriff Bryan Murphy said he is requesting David be charged locally with impersonating a police officer, after David Wright had been reported patrolling LaHarpe’s city streets on his wife’s behalf, as well as with interfering with law enforcement and trespassing.

Ashley Wright presented the crowd with a photocopy of a receipt she said indicated the badge had been returned. She also said her husband also had returned a second, broken badge he was accused of stealing.

“I’m defending my husband’s name,” she said.

“If he’s innocent why did he run?” an audience member asked.

“Because, with the system, the way the jail works, once you process yourself, you’re labeled a criminal forever,” she responded. “I feel that way, like (with what) I went through, now I’m a criminal.”

She denied accusations her husband was impersonating an officer, saying David only rode along as a passenger for her protection.

“Yes, he did,” another audience member objected. “I saw him with my own eyes.”

While continuing to deny the accusations her husband had driven the car, Ashley Wright said she had previously appointed her husband as a reserve officer, allowing him to accompany his wife on patrol.

That assertion, however, came after Council members tabled her request earlier this month to appoint reserve officers until after they had fully considered the matter.

“That’s something I’ll get in trouble for,” she said.

THE WRIGHTS

moved to LaHarpe late in 2017 following two years of living “off the grid” in rural Montana, telling the Register then that God had led them to southeast Kansas to buy the abandoned church.

They since renamed it “The Revival Church,” with David Wright serving as pastor.

Ashley said she was uncertain if the family would remain in LaHarpe.

“We love it here,” she said. “We love the town.”

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