Posted: Jul 22, 2014 5:55 PM by Rob Krieger
Updated: Jul 22, 2014 6:09 PM
SORRENTO - The town council will vote on a motion to let Sorrento residents decide the fate of their police department and chief of police position.
After legislation was passed at the Capitol earlier this year to allow the town to abolish the position and the department, the council must now agree to put the idea on a ballot and let voters decide.
The move comes after the police department was partially dissolved last year when it lost liability insurance. To make matters worse, Earl Theriot, the former chief of police, resigned amid a federal investigation in which he lied to the FBI about a sexual encounter he had with a woman in his office.
Right now the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office is handling a patrol of the area, watching the town for $36 an hour.
"It's not like this is something that they've never done, they have a very good presence right now, but obviously the sheriff has the expertise, they have a good background, they know what's going on," said Kent Schexnaydre, Ascension councilman for District 2.
But some residents, including former mayor Wilson Longanecker Sr., think a police department is the best bet for residents.
"I believe there would be less chance of them being persecuted, I'm talking about the people here being persecuted from outside agencies coming in, because they don't know the people," said Longanecker, who cautioned, a vote against the police department would be a slippery slope. "If we go ahead and abolish the police department then what do we need to council for, why don't we abolish them."
The council will vote on the measure in a special meeting this evening.