SORRENTO, LA (WAFB) - Sorrento will continue to have police coverage for the near future after the town council vote Tuesday night to extend the contract with the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office, but there's a catch.
The vote to extend the contract with the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office was made after Sorrento Police Chief Earl Theriot updated the council on his quest to find insurance for his department.
"We got information, we gathering from it," Theriot told the council. "We are going to give them all that and get a proposal to insure the whole town."
The agreement between the Sorrento Town Council and APSO leaves a gap in patrols. The sheriff's office will provide patrols in Sorrento for the full 24 hours on Saturday and Sunday. However, patrols on Monday through Friday will only happen between 4 p.m. and 8 a.m.
Mayor Mike Lambert asked Theriot why he and his assistant chief, the only two officers left in the department, won't fill in the gaps during the day.
"You're the elected official," said Lambert to Theriot. "And you're choosing not to do it."
"I'm not going out there with no insurance on me. I'm not sending that officer out with no insurance on us. Does the town want to take responsibility of sending us out without insurance?" Theriot responded.
The debate included the entire council with the primary concern being what would happen if the contract was not accepted as is.
"This is the only agreement we have on the table," said Councilman Randy Anny. "Either we take this or we don't have any protection at all."
The contract was approved with the condition members of council and Theriot will meet with the sheriff's office to request extending its patrols 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Lambert however, doubts Theriot will find a viable insurance option for his department.
"If we can afford it and somebody will write it. Obviously, it's been three months now and nobody has submitted a quote or proposal that is satisfactory," said Lambert.
Asked if he would consider resigning his position in the meantime, Theriot was emphatic.
"Not no, but hell no. I'm not going nowhere. I was elected to this job and I'm going to stay on this job," he promised.
The contract approved will include coverage by APSO in Sorrento through March. Lambert said he estimates if the coverage is extended to the end of the fiscal year, it will cost the town about $115,000.