Town loses police force
SORRENTO - Town council members rejected an insurance proposal Tuesday night that would allow the Sorrento Police Department to continue operating, paving the way for the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office to take over protection for the town.
"The sheriff saved the day," said Sorrento Mayor Mike Lambert. "I did not expect that offer from him."
Sheriff Jeff Wiley agreed to provide law enforcement protection for the town for free through January, so the town could have time to work out what to do next.
"I think everyone was hurrying to make deadlines and hurrying to make decisions to ensure safety and security for you," said Wiley. "I want to take that pressure off of them and assure you that you're going to have an officer inside the town of Sorrento at least through the first of the year."
Wiley said elevating that pressure will allow the city to seek new insurance quotes and find the best people to protect the town.
"That gives us time and saves us money," said Sorrento Police Chief Earl Theriot.
The proposed liability insurance quote of $67,692 was the only one the town had received. It was nearly $40,000 more than the department's current insurance.
The Sorrento Police's current insurance policy expired Tuesday, after Risk Management Inc. refused to reissue their policy to them. They said two of the department's officers refused to take required psychological tests, part of their agreement to cover the police department.
The department's five officers are gone, but could have the option to reapply for their jobs if the town agrees to go ahead and rebuild their police department.
"I'm going to have to sit down with the chief and we're going to work it out," said Lambert. "Whether it's our police department or the sheriff, we're going to do what's best for Sorrento."
The Sheriff's Office will take over patrol first thing Wednesday.