LaHarpe City Hall searched

Ashley Wright

LAHARPE — A search for illegal drugs in La-Harpe City Hall and elsewhere in town came up empty, although dogs “hit” on the smell that led officers to believe drugs may have been present at some point.

The search was ordered Thursday afternoon at the request of Allen County Sheriff Bryan Murphy. Officers and a canine unit from Chanute were used.

Murphy said the search was ordered after he watched an April 6 KOAM TV interview with former LaHarpe Police Chief Ashley Wright.

Wright, who was fired in March following her arrest for interfering with law enforcement — she refused to allow deputies to enter her home in order to arrest her husband on a warrant out of Texas — claimed in the interview her arrest and firing came about in retaliation to her aggressive law enforcement stances.

Among her claims was that she suspected drug use among city employees.

“I tried to tell everyone ahead of time that was the real reason I was fired,” Wright told the Register in an email.

Murphy told the Register Wright’s comments were enough to prompt his follow-up investigation.

Because no drugs were found, Murphy and LaHarpe Mayor Mae Crowell said the matter was closed.

Wright’s husband, David, a former police chief in Texas, was charged with theft in 2015 after he was accused of not returning his badge after he was fired.

Ashley Wright showed the Register a photocopy of a receipt she said proved the badge had been returned, and that the charge against her husband was politically motivated.

Wright said she has requested a termination hearing in front of the LaHarpe City Council to appeal her firing. No hearing date has been set.

The Iola Register

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