Port Allen gets interim police chief
PORT ALLEN - The Port Allen City Council has appointed 23-year police department veteran Sgt. Ken Bates as the city's interim police chief on a 4-0 vote.
The Advocate reports the 50-year-old Bates will serve until a special election, tentatively scheduled for March 4, is held for voters to choose a new chief to serve the rest of former Police Chief Fred Smith's unexpired term, which ends in December 2012.
Smith was convicted of 11 counts of racketeering, bribery and fraud last week in federal court at Baton Rouge.
He resigned from his office hours after the jury reached its verdict.
On Wednesday night, Councilman Hugh Riviere nominated Bates, saying the sergeant is the department's most senior officer and meets the two legal parameters required of an interim chief: Bates is a registered voter and he has lived within the city limits for the past year.
Bates takes over a police department which he has served as a patrol officer, shift supervisor and as an administrator responsible for equipment and cars.
"I'm going to do the best job I can and try to bring back some integrity to this office," Bates said after the meeting.
Smith, the city's police chief since 2009, was ensnared in an FBI sting operation known as "Operation Blighted Officials."
Smith was accused of accepting $4,000 in bribes, NBA game tickets and other gifts from undercover operatives posing as corrupt businessmen looking to do business with the city. The operatives were pitching an FBI-created garbage can cleaning service known as Cifer 5000.