Questions raised over Central Police detail outside city limits
CENTRAL - Questions are being raised tonight about whether the Central Police Department violated state laws with an extra duty detail officers worked recently.
The detail was outside the city limits, but Central's Police vehicles were used.
Central Police Chief James Salsbury said the officers working the detail about half a mile outside the city limits are being paid $40 per hour. It has some residents in the area upset.
"They work the Central area, and this is out of the Central district," Chester Hall said. "Another thing, they are making a dust pile and mud hole out here, it's going to cause someone to cause a wreck."
Hall's not alone with his frustration over this. Other Central residents weighed in online.
"How can we use two city of Central Police units burning taxpayers gas to work a construction project outside the city limits?" Stanley Webster said.
"Lots of departments work for other people, like LSU, Southern football, as long as you're doing a traffic assignment there's an Attorney General opinion on it, it's perfectly legal," Salsbury said.
Salsbury is referring to AG opinion from the town of Independence. It clearly states Louisiana law allows police officers to perform off-duty security details, and use police vehicles as long as certain criteria are met. There are three parts.
1. Have a policy for off-duty or private employment in place.
We requested the policy, but the Chief couldn't provide it to us.
2. Publish that policy in an official journal of the parish.
Salsbury admits he didn't do that.
3. Receive appropriate charges for the use of the Police Department Vehicles.
Salsbury says he has no intention to make the officers pay for using Central's vehicles, since many other law enforcement agencies don't make their officers pay to use vehicles for extra duty.
"They're not paid," Salsbury said. "All these guys are volunteers. There's no paid officer out here."
Chief Salsbury said his guys are just trying to make some money, since their service to the City of Central is strictly voluntary. He believes working this detail is ultimately keeping residents in town safe.
"The other alternative was to run these trucks through the city, make the big loop and come down the two lane highway," Salsbury said. "We didn't want that many trucks on the two lane part of Hooper."
Some people tend to agree like Donald Pino.
"The life they may have saved was either heading into Central or leaving," Pino wrote on facebook. "Either way, I appreciate what they are doing."
But, for neighbors like Hall, it goes beyond just calling out the Police Department for working in an area that is out of their jurisdiction. He's upset with what's going on in front of his house.
"My wife has cancer," Hall said. "She doesn't need all that dust and mud and everything in her yard."
The Chief says the detail wrapped up Tuesday evening. He plans to continue it once the rain stops.