Louisiana Town Still Without Police Chief, Liability Insurance

April 17, 2014

Efforts to revitalize the Sorrento Police Department in Louisiana seem to be stagnating while the police chief’s position sits vacant and the days pass without anyone actively seeking liability insurance for the department.

Mayor Mike Lambert told The Advocate that the governor’s office is having a difficult time finding a replacement to serve out the rest of former Police Chief Earl Theriot Jr.’s three year-term.

Theriot resigned in February and pleaded guilty to lying to an FBI agent about inappropriate sexual contact with an intoxicated woman the chief had picked up after a call on Nov. 1.

Lambert said the governor’s office told him they’ve been searching for a replacement but so far have not found anyone to take the position.

“They said they’ve had no luck,” Lambert said, of Jindal’s office.

The governor’s office has released little information about the search, Lambert said, even declining to share with him the names of people they have considered to fill the vacancy.

“We’re working with local officials and reviewing potential candidates who meet the qualifications laid out by statute to fill the vacancy,” said Shannon Bates, deputy communications director for the governor’s office.

To fill the vacancy, a person must be a registered voter and have lived in the town for one year, according to state law.

Jindal has had since Feb. 27 to appoint an interim police chief but has not done so yet.

The town has called a special election Nov. 4 to fill the remainder of Theriot’s three-year term, which expires June 30, 2017.

Sorrento voters also could decide in the same special election to abolish the Police Department and eliminate the police chief’s position entirely.

A proposed bill by state Sen. Jody Amedee, R-Gonzales, to abolish the Police Department and the police chief’s position was introduced March 31. The bill passed out of committee Monday and is waiting on final passage on the Senate floor.

Lambert also revealed that the town is no longer seeking insurance companies to replace the Police Department’s liability policies for its officers and vehicles canceled in November by its former provider Risk Management Inc.

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