INVESTIGATIVE UNIT: Slaughter Police department in turmoil
SLAUGHTER - The Police Department in the Town of Slaughter is in turmoil tonight, after the Chief and the majority of his department called it quits.
All of this follows stories by the Investigative Unit that showed Slaughter Mayor Robert Jackson had a quota system where he wanted Police Officers to write 40 tickets per month. Officers said they would not enforce it.
Chief Walter Smith said once almost everyone walked out, he decided it was time to leave too. With a mass exodus of almost everyone in his department, he said it was hard to do his job.
"Everyone I had working here when you talked to me last (two months ago) no longer is," Smith said.
At the Police Department, eight police units sit parked. There's not much work being done. That's because there's no one to drive them.
Smith said almost everyone left following this conversation that was recorded by the Assistant Slaughter Police Chief.
"You need some extra money, go pick up three or four people," Jackson was recorded saying. "You can write your own check. We get paid, and you get paid. You can't say it ain't fair."
"The law precludes him from doing that," Chief Smith said. "But, he was not up enough ont hat law to know that."
Smith says in addition to telling his men to break the law, the micro-management was so bad it was hard for him to do his job.
"Mayors like to run their towns," Chief Smith said. "All of that, but when you have an elected chief, they are administrators. Every chief that's elected has issues. The mayor wants you to do one thing, but forgets the daily operations of the chief is his business."
So, what happens now? Now that the majority of the Slaughter Police Department has left, the chief says the Mayor and Council will likely appoint an interim replacement as chief, until an election can be held to name a permanent replacement
"If we need assistance, the Sheriff's Office will back us up," Smith said. "Plus we have a mutual agreement with Clinton and Jackson."
Around town, all of the folks we talked to refused to go on camera out of fear of retaliation. But, all of them said the turmoil points back to one person. We tried to talk to Mayor Robert Jackson as he exited Town Hall, but he said he was too busy.
"I have a meeting in Zachary," Mayor Robert Jackson said.
Despite being the Chief for more than a decade, Smith says resigning felt like the right thing to do, after the majority of his department left.
"I've been Chief for 13 years, and it's hard to say goodbye," Smith said.
The Chief will stay on until July 15. He said he hopes to have two new officers hired soon to fill gaps that have recently been created.