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August 03, 2012 05:55 PM

Mother Of Police Chief's Girlfriend Speaks Out

Wagner, SD

It's been a long month in Wagner and now, the town's chief of police is accused of covering up a crime. Jim Chaney is accused of using a storage unit at the police department to store drug needles his girlfriend allegedly used.  Friday, that woman's mother speaks out against both the drug culture in town and defending her daughter's boyfriend.

Friday was the kickoff of the Crazy Days shopping event on Main Street in Wagner. But you could classify the last four weeks as plenty crazy around town. Two-year-old RieLee Lovell was found dead on the 4th of July and those in charge of her admitted to using meth. Now, the town's police chief is accused of storing drug needles his girlfriend allegedly used at the police station.

"He wasn't hiding them," Kathy Cournoyer, the mother of the police chief's girlfriend, said.

Cournoyer claims it's a misunderstanding, but admits her daughter is in trouble.

David Brown: Does your daughter have a drug problem?
Cournoyer: Yeah, she does. It's like everybody else around here.

Even though these are merely accusations at the moment, other Wagner residents aren't as comfortable with law enforcement around town.

"They're supposed to protect us," Wagner resident Andrea Honomichl said. "I'm just afraid for myself and for my kids too. I see it out there and I see kids using and I know how it affects people."

Cournoyer claims the police chief did nothing wrong. In fact, she claims he was trying to help her daughter.

"He was getting her signed up to go to treatment, checking on different places," Cournoyer said.

Cournoyer admits her daughter's caught up in what she believes is a drug culture around town that's left people even angrier.

"It's always been divided," Cournoyer said.

And while there is lingering animosity toward some people in town, Cournoyer wants Chief Chaney to resume his job and for things to get cleaned up.

"He's a good guy and he will do his job when he needs to, instead of this one incident supposedly," Cournoyer said.

We attempted to talk to someone at the Wagner Police Department, but were referred to the Wagner city attorney. He declined comment saying it was a personnel matter.

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