Sorrento town council takes steps to abolish police department

Sorrento town council step closer to abolishing police department

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Sorrento Town Council approved two measures Tuesday night that will pave the way for the town to completely dissolve its police department with voter approval.

One measure will amend the budget to in effect zero out the Sorrento Police Department's funds including the salary of the only current employee, Assistant Police Chief Ricky Smith. The other measure will let residents decide in November if the department should be completely abolished moving forward.

“When you try to bring something back and try it again and it's failed on you once and try again that's insanity,” said town resident Robert DeBate.

However some like Sorrento Council Member Randy Anny do not believe the police department's allocated funds should be used elsewhere until voters make their decision.

"If it's for the people and you're doing this for the people then why zero an account when you leave it up to the people and let them decide in November what they want to do," said Anny.

Both measures passed easily by a vote of 4 to 1 and Mayor Mike Lambert, who told WAFB the department has been hemorrhaging the town for years, promised those in attendance Sorrento will be in better shape without a police department.

"I turned a surplus this year without ticket revenue, turned a surplus. It will probably be around $70,000 this year without ticket revenue, 
without it. I don't need ticket revenue for this town to survive," said Lambert.

The ordinance calling for a public vote on whether to abolish the police department will be presented to the Secretary of State Wednesday.

 It will join another item already on the November ballot asking residents to name a replacement for former Sorrento Police Chief Earl Theriot.

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