Sorrento chief breaks silence over police problems

Chief Earl Theriot
Chief Earl Theriot

SORRENTO, LA (WAFB) - An insurance problem could mean the Sorrento Police Department is gone in less than a month, but the chief said he's not going anywhere.

Police Chief Earl Theriot has been the top cop in Sorrento for 12 years. Now, not even four months into his fourth term, his job may be on the line. The company that insures the town, Risk Management, has notified town leaders that as of November 19, 2013 it will no longer cover the police department.

Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley said he is interested in taking over law enforcement services in the town but only if the chief and his police force are gone. Theriot said he's not leaving his post.

"It's sad. I think it's ridiculous. I'm not saying the sheriff's office can't come in and handle it but we've been having our own police department since I can remember," Theriot said.

Chief Theriot said while the news only came to surface this week he claims Sorrento Mayor Mike Lambert knew a problem was brewing two months ago.

"My understanding is, and this came from the mayor, that him and risk management met back in August in Monroe to discuss issues about the Sorrento Police Department why wasn't I informed back then if we had some problems."

The chief said he's looking for another insurance carrier but the town would have to approve it. If they don't, the police department would disappear.

"Then we just shut down just turn it over to the sheriff office," said Chief Earl Theriot. "They would have to come in and patrol. We have no police department."

Theriot said he has a hard time believing the town can't afford the police department because he said his department has helped the town financially in the past.

"If they look back for the last three years, the Sorrento Police has given back $80,000 each year to save this town from going bankrupt. The police department put the money back in there to keep the town running."

While Theriot said he and the mayor have been in talks with Sheriff Wiley, he asserts even without a police department, he has no intention of resigning.

"I'm an elected official and I'm still going to be. I'm not planning on going nowhere."

Mayor Lambert was not at Town Hall on Thursday and did not return calls for comment.

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