Citing liability issues, the mayor of Sorrento, La., and four of five Town Council members are calling for Police Chief Earl Theriot Jr. to resign on the same day that Theriot and Assistant Chief Ricky Smith started daytime patrols without insurance coverage amid a running public dispute over the police department’s future.
City officials disputed the chief’s claims that the council and mayor “colluded against his department to ensure its demise.”
The Advocate reports a joint letter to the town’s residents was issued by the five Sorrento officials.
Theriot, an elected chief who started his fourth term July 1, said that he had read the letter. He was unmoved.
“Yeah, they can stick it,” Theriot said. “I ain’t planning on going nowhere.”
The joint letter says Theriot’s decision to start patrols without insurance leaves the town in an untenable situation and liable for claims against the department.
“Such actions place the very existence of the Town of Sorrento in jeopardy and cannot be allowed to continue,” the letter says.
“Chief Theriot’s continued resistance against what has become inevitable can only do further harm to the Town of Sorrento,” the letter says. “Had we at our disposal a mechanism to remove him from office under the Lawrason Act, we would undertake to do so.”
Under the Lawrason Act, Councilman Donald Schexnaydre and other town officials have said, they lack the power to force Theriot out of office.
Schexnaydre said the council is not trying to do anything to the chief personally but is responding to his actions.
The councilman said he is bothered by the fact that since the town’s insurer, Risk Management Inc., announced in late October that it would be canceling the department’s professional liability insurance Nov. 19, the problem has been everyone’s but Theriot’s.
At the time of the cancellation announcement, Risk Management officials said only that the police department failed to meet underwriting requirements.