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Police chief calls out city council members

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GONZALES - The chief of Gonzales' police department recently called out members of the city council who he said were standing in the way of progress.

"I don't know if they're being rebellious, I'm not sure of what direction they want to head, but I can tell you, we're not heading in a good direction if things don't change," said Gonzales Chief of Police Sherman Jackson, speaking about three councilmen; Timothy Vessel, Terance Irvin, and Gary Lacombe.

Jackson told News 2 those councilmen are standing in the way of meaningful change, and even questioning the merit of police off-duty details.

"It's a win-win situation, officer presence is crucial, it may deter crime, a police unit, when somebody sees that, they feel comfortable as a citizen and they feel safe," said Jackson.

He thinks the councilmen want to divert a portion of the money received by officers during their off-duty assignments back to the city.

Jackson is also concerned about the councilmen's actions toward the EMS service in Gonzales. The city operates an EMS service that is free to citizens, but now they want to hire an outside firm to handle billing. Since the original request, the three councilmen have stood in the way of that change.

"Now, this situation comes up and as always it seems to be a real major problem for certain councilmen, and I just cannot understand it," said Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux.

Councilmen Vessel was reached for comment, but declined to add anything to story. He said, "I'd rather not comment until the 'true facts' are out there."

The council meets on Monday to discuss the EMS issue.

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