Steven Futral (Photo source: Jackson Co. Sheriff's Dept.)
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - An Ocean Springs police officer is being charged with one count of possession of child pornography. Lieutenant Steven Futral was arrested at his home Monday night after Jackson County Sheriff's Deputies served a warrant.
According to OSPD Assistant Chief Mark Dunston, Futral is on administrative leave with pay.
Also, Futral's police department laptop was confiscated. There was no indication the laptop was used in the alleged crimes, but it has been seized as part of the investigation.
The Ocean Springs Police Department is conducting its own internal investigation into the allegations against Lt. Futral.
"The matter involving Steve Futral's arrest is currently under investigation. The Ocean Springs Police Department is assisting the sheriff's department with anything they need with their criminal investigation," Ocean Springs Police Chief Lionel Cothern said in a statement. "While this investigation will take time, we assure the members of our community that the men and women of the OSPD will continue to provide the professional service our citizens expect and deserve."
Lieutenant Futral was working as the OSPD's Public Information Officer. The arrest was made as part of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit, which uses a combination of new technologies to help track down suspected child predators.
If found guilty, Lieutenant Futral faces a minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years in prison.
In reference to the recent arrest, Mayor Connie Moran said, "The City of Ocean Springs and the Police Department are fully cooperating with the Jackson County Sheriff's Office in the recent arrest of Lt. Steve Futral and the on-going investigation."
"While we are not at liberty to speak on the specifics of the case, I would like to emphasize that the city has a zero tolerance for unethical, unprofessional behavior in its employees. The Board of Aldermen and I will discuss this matter during executive session at tonight's recess meeting. The City remains committed to its citizens in offering professional services and delivery of those services."
Futral had his initial court appearance at 10:30am. Doug Walker was there and will have more later today on WLOX News and WLOX.com.