New Sorrento Police Chief: 'Now I have to make a choice' - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

New Sorrento Police Chief: 'Now I have to make a choice'

Sorrento Police Chief Fern Barnett (Source: WAFB) Sorrento Police Chief Fern Barnett (Source: WAFB)
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    Tuesday, November 4 2014 10:27 PM EST2014-11-05 03:27:43 GMT

    The town of Sorrento has abolished its police department. In the Tuesday night elections, 66 percent of the votes cast were to abolish the department.

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    The town of Sorrento has abolished its police department. In the Tuesday night elections, 66 percent of the votes cast were to abolish the department.

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    Tuesday, October 21 2014 8:49 PM EDT2014-10-22 00:49:26 GMT
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    71-year-old Fern Barnett was officially sworn in as Sorrento's new police chief Tuesday in Ascension Parish. Voters will decide in November on whether to abolish the police department entirely.More >>
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SORRENTO, LA (WAFB) -

Sorrento's new police chief has a big decision to make after voters decided to get rid of the town's police department in the Nov. 4 elections.

Fern Barnett, 71, was elected by default last month. She was the only candidate remaining for the job left vacant when ex-Sorrento Chief Earl Theriot quit amid a sexual assault investigation. With no law enforcement background, the great-grandmother inherited a broken office.

A string of legal troubles and alleged scandals left the department uninsured and without funding. The future of the department rested with the voters. 

In an interview on Oct. 21, Barnett, had a plan that started with the department's insurance needs, but she had a message for the voters who would decide the fate of the department.

"Just think about it very carefully and think that once the police department is gone, it's awful hard to get it back," said Barnett.

In the end, the voters decided to abolish the police department entirely.

Before the election, Barnett said she would consider resigning if voters chose to get rid of the police department. Otherwise the police department would go away at the end of Barnett's term, which is scheduled to end in 2017.

Chief Barnett declined an on-camera interview Wednesday, but released a statement which read "I gave the residents a chance to make a choice. They made their choice. Now I have to make a choice."

Barnett did not indicate when she would decide.

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