Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "sheriff" ...

  • Alabama's "Beach House Sheriff"

    Over the past decade, Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin has turned the jail he operates in rural Alabama into a vehicle for his own enrichment. In 2018, AL.com investigative reporter Connor Sheets single-handedly exposed the pattern of exploitation and cost-cutting behind Entrekin’s financial success. This investigation revealed extensive wrongdoing by Entrekin, from improperly pocketing millions of dollars worth of public funds and mistreating inmates in his jail to spending public money on campaign ads and allegedly having sex with underage girls.
  • Deadly Force

    Deadly Force documented a pattern of harm and harassment by deputies at rural sheriff’s department in North Carolina. Two residents had been killed; others were beaten or threatened.
  • Harvest of Terror, Parts 1 & 2

    The first story in the series detailed for the first time the worst instance of workplace rape in modern Florida history. The report revealed how a rural sheriff's office and local prosecutors had failed at least five women who reported being sexually assaulted by their bosses at a packing plant. The piece also revealed how the plant's owner ignored multiple warnings that women were being assaulted at the facility. The second piece documented the larger problem of rapes among migrant women in rural Hendry County, Florida. It described unreported recent rapes in the area and showed that the small county's sexual assault rate is significantly higher than the national average.
  • Sweepstakes Shutdown

    WNCT-TV launched a two-part investigation in November 2015 examining why a local sheriff and district attorney allowed internet "sweepstakes" cafes to continue operating even though the North Carolina Supreme Court upheld a ban on these businesses. The investigation revealed the sheriff and district attorney's legal justification didn't comply with a recent state Supreme Court ruling. Less than two weeks after the investigation aired, the district attorney sent cease-and-desist letters to sweepstakes cafes in his jurisdiction. https://vimeo.com/150085981
  • Rough Rides

    Denver Sheriff’s deputies, running the 16th Street Mall drunk van, handcuff intoxicated riders then fail to seat belt them securely into the cage. The results: 38 injuries in five years including gashed foreheads, stitches, and broken limbs. In more than half the cases, “braking” was a contributing factor, which raises the possibility the deputies are intentionally hurting the drunks (as payback for cursing, spitting at them etc.)
  • Left for Dead and the interactive database, The Lost & The Found

    Left for Dead is the first national examination of Jane and John Does and the failures of sheriffs and coroners to identify unclaimed and unnamed bodies – a problem the Department of Justice has called “the nation’s silent mass disaster.” G.W. Schulz’s exhaustive reporting exposed the challenges of identifying them. Those challenges, he found, range from neglect, indifference and a lack of will by local authorities, to three unsuccessful attempts in the U.S. Congress to require police and death investigators to use an existing national registry of missing people. Following his reporting, the bill was reintroduced this year. Reveal obtained federal data that tracks unidentified bodies, which informed our reporting. We also built an online tool for matching missing people with unidentified bodies.
  • Deaths in Detention

    This project was the first-ever analysis of 18 people who died in the custody of law enforcement agencies throughout Milwaukee County during the five-year period ending in 2012, not including suspects shot by police. At least 10 of them had medical or psychiatric conditions that were improperly monitored or left untreated by authorities. None of the 18 custody deaths resulted in criminal charges against an officer. Discipline was handed down in just two cases — both under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Department — and the punishment of many of the officers was overturned. The Journal Sentinel analysis found that in the aftermath of in-custody deaths, pathologists, prosecutors and law enforcement rely on each others’ conclusions — even when those conclusions are flawed — ensuring no one is held accountable when prisoners die.
  • Policed Property

    WSPA discovered a major backlog of civil asset forfeiture cases in a local county. Cars seized more than a decade ago had been rusting in the county impound lot while hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash was in a sheriff’s office bank account without trial. Their digging revealed the cases involved hundreds of defendants including many who had never been charged with a crime. In each case, the cases had never even been scheduled for trial.
  • The Case of Four Little Words

    TNT’s story uncovered a bungled prosecution based on demonstrably false facts, and subsequent attempts to conceal prosecutorial errors from the defense and the courts over a four-year span. The defendant sued for false arrest and sought disclosure of relevant records. Prosecutors tried to prevent that disclosure and failed. A sheriff’s deputy sought to disclose information revealing the same missteps; prosecutors tried to prevent it, and failed. Subsequently, they tried to label the deputy as a dishonest cop. The deputy resisted; prosecutors sought to silence him with a barrage of legal fees. They failed. The story exposed the scorched-earth tactics of prosecutors bent on winning by any means necessary, even if it meant discrediting a law enforcement officer who told the truth. Intertwined cases are still active, tied to multiple appeals in higher courts; prosecutors continue to lose those arguments.
  • Inmates making insiders wealthy

    Privately owned and operated work-release programs are a new fad in corrections. Work-release programs tend to reduce recidivism rates and inmates are able to save some money while in prison so they don’t re-enter the real world penniless. Privately run programs, according to proponents, are superior to those run by public entities, because private operators take a percentage of inmate wages and are thus incentivized to find the best possible jobs for inmates. However, as The Advocate’s stories have shown, the private companies that get this work tend to be politically connected, and they don’t have any real incentive to provide quality housing or food or to prevent escapes. They chronicled problems with escapes, drug use and even death at one outfit run by friends of the sheriff of St. Tammany Parish, a New Orleans suburb. That facility was shut down after our reporting (which the sheriff called “reckless”). As another direct result of their investigation, the state secretary of the Department of Corrections announced that in the future, work-release programs would only get contracts after undergoing a competitive process.