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Sorrento councilman wants police department gone

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SORRENTO - The voters will get to decide if the police department should be abolished when they hit the polls in November.

The Police Department has been defunct since it lost liability coverage last year and the chief of police resigned after he lied to the FBI about a sexual encounter with a woman in his office.

The legislature created a law that will allow voters to scuttle the police department for good, if they decide to pull the plug during an election in November.

Voters will also have to decide on a chief of police to fill the vacant position.

Councilman Don Schexnaydre doesn't think it's worth the trouble to try and rehab the force, especially after losing insurance.

"I think you'll always have trouble getting insurance, how do you rehab a department that's been defunct this bad, we're still facing three lawsuits that haven't come up yet," said Schexnaydre.

Two people are running for the chief of police position, Fern Barnett and Gary Leblanc, but it's unclear how they would handle the job if the voters nix the police department.

"What do you plan on doing," questioned Schexnaydre, "do you plan on coming in and saying I want a pay check? Are you gonna stay or are you gonna resign? What are you gonna do if the people want it gone?"

Barnett, who was the only candidate able to comment today, says she's as qualified as any other resident in Sorrento to take the position, but admitted she's not as qualified as Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley, the man who will take over if the force gets the axe.

If voters decide to get rid of the department, the winning chief of police will have two years to serve, before the force is completely shuttered. If they decide to resign before then, it would mean an immediate closure of the department.


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