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Village may shake up police department structure

1 year 1 month 1 week ago September 15, 2015 Sep 15, 2015 Tuesday, September 15 2015 September 15, 2015 5:36 PM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Troy Gaulden

FRENCH SETTLEMENT - The Village of French Settlement in Livingston Parish may ask voters to decide whether to continue electing a chief of police or to let the mayor and aldermen appoint one instead.

French Settlement Mayor Toni Guitrau feels the time is right to put the issue on the November ballot. Current Police Chief Harry Brignac's term runs out at the end of 2016. Guitrau says there are pros and cons for each way of choosing a chief, but appointing the position would open the job up to people outside the village limits.  

"We would be able to request qualifications for people that live right outside the village limits as well as inside, and we'd be able to pick and choose which ones would be best to represent the town," she said. "This is nothing personal...strictly letting the people decide if they want this to be an appointed position or elected position."

Chief Brignac declined to do an interview but did say that he is strongly against village leaders picking a chief instead of letting voters elect one. He plans to run for reelection at the end of 2016. Some residents agree that they want to be able to vote on a chief.

"That's the greatest part of living in the United States. It's our privilege to vote on what we want and who we want to vote for," said resident Pat Schexnaider. "It doesn't always work out the way we want, but we have the privilege of voting for it ourselves and that's one option that I'm not ready to give up."

The Board of Aldermen will vote Monday on whether to put the issue on the November ballot.

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