BENNINGTON — The FBI has not raided the Bennington County Sheriff's Department, and has made no arrests of department personnel, the department's lieutenant said Friday afternoon in a media release issued to address persistent rumors to the contrary.
"Over the course of this past week, there have been rumors circulating about a raid conducted at the Bennington County Sheriff's Department by the Federal Bureau of Investigation," Lt. Lloyd Dean said in the release. "Within the past hour, there was another rumor that the FBI [was] at the present moment conducting a search warrant Sheriff's Office on this observed holiday."
Dean added, "I can assure the residents of Bennington County, the news media and our employees that there hasn't been any of the so-called raids within the Bennington County Sheriff's Department. There are no investigations regarding the department or our personnel, and there have been no arrests as widely reported."
Speculation about the alleged pending arrest of Sheriff Chad Schmidt, members or former members of his department, the Bennington Police Department, and/or other law enforcement officials has roiled over a number of weeks in social media posts, primarily on certain Facebook pages.
"The employees of the Bennington County Sheriff's Department have weathered these rumors with great pride and strength," Dean said, "and we will continue to do our jobs with all of the pride that go along with taking our oath of office ... In conclusion, the rumors are false."
Neither Dean nor Schmidt could be reached for further comment.
Banner requests this week for an interview with Schmidt, or for a statement from the sheriff, were not responded to in time for this article.