MARKSVILLE, LA (WAFB) - "We were paying them by warrants," said Marksville Ward 2 Marshal Floyd Voinche.
The night of November 3, 2015, Derrick Stafford and Norris Greenhouse Jr. were moonlighting for the Ward 2 Marshal's office, working under Voinche when
they allegedly fired 18 shots. Jeremy Mardis, 6, was killed and his father, Christopher Few, was wounded.
As deputy marshals, their jobs are to serve bench warrants put out by city court, which means if anyone missed a court date, the judge puts out a
bench warrant for their arrest.
"We try not to arrest them. We just need to collect the money. They talk to them and told them to come in," said Voinche.
Documents newly obtained by the 9News Investigators show Stafford and Greenhouse Jr. were getting paid according to the number of warrants they served. The Investigators put in a public records request on March 7, 2017. Among the things asked for were the pay scale, pay schedule, and salary.
Marshal Voinche said in part of a typed letter response, "...they were paid by the warrants they worked."
Documents show that in March of 2015, between Greenhouse Jr., Stafford, and a third deputy marshal, 15 warrants were served and the deputies were paid $25 per warrant served. Greenhouse and Stafford made $150 each in March. In April, 12 warrants were served between Stafford and Greenhouse Jr. At $25 per warrant, each deputy made $150 in April. In June, their pay increased to $50 per warrant and between all three deputies, they served eight warrants and took home $133 each.
KIRAN: We were told that the reason the price changed from $25 to $50 is that in the beginning, the office did not have that much money, so they needed
to increase the pot?
VOINCHE: That's possible, that's possible. Yeah, we did not have much money. There was nobody doing our warrants.
In July, there were 51 warrants among the trip, with each taking making $850 that month. In August, there were 50 more warrants divided by three, with each deputy taking home $833. In September, there were 28 warrants, but they also worked an additional 14 hours that month writing citations at $12.50 an hour, taking home $641.
KIRAN: Do you feel that setting a system where you get paid per warrant is wrong?
VOINCHE: Not really.
KIRAN: Why not?
VOINCHE: I never thought about it that way.
Things changed in October. They were then getting a base pay at $490 and not getting paid per warrant served. It was the same in November. In total, for all those months, the deputies made $3,738 each. Voinche said in his response, "In October, they were put on a base pay of $490 on serving at least 25 warrants or working 17 hours per month working warrants and writing citations."
KIRAN: The documents you gave me yesterday, it looks like it started out at first that these deputies were getting $25 per warrant. Then it changed
to $50 a warrant. Why?
VOINCHE: I thought it was always $50.
KIRAN: No, it was $25 in the beginning.
VOINCHE: Like I said, the girl does all of that. I don't touch all of that stuff. I really don't know anything about it.
KIRAN: OK, but you're the ward marshal.
VOINCHE: Well, I understand that.
Louisiana has a law on "prohibition against quotas," basically saying no municipality or law enforcement agency can compensate officers on a predetermined or specified number of arrests or citations or offer a financial reward.
VOINCHE: It wasn't an award. It was a salary.
KIRAN: But that's a financial award.
VOINCHE: Yeah, how are you going to pay them? Are they going to do it for free?
KIRAN: You pay people by the hour or a salary without setting a quota.
VOINCHE: Well, maybe it is broken down by the hour, I don't know.
KIRAN: You don't know how your deputy marshals are getting paid?
VOINCHE: No, she's doing all that. I told you the clerk does all that.
The 9News Investigators then went to the Avoyelles Parish District Attorney Charles Riddle.
KIRAN: If a law-enforcement agency in Avoyelles Parish is operating that you get paid per warrant you serve, is that legal?
RIDDLES: That would be a violation of the quota statute. If an individual or a law-enforcement agent has his pay based on a quota number, like per ticket per warrant or whatever, then that would be a violation of that statute.
To dig further, the 9News Investigators asked for additional items in the public records request. When asked for time sheets, we were told the office has no time sheets. When we asked for payment policies, we were told they have no written policies.
VOINCHE: They do what they do at other departments.
KIRAN: But there's no written policies as to how things operate here at the Ward Marshal's office?
VOINCHE: No, no we just, they work right here next to me and I go with what they do, their policies.
KIRAN: The Marksville Police Department?
We also asked for the number of arrests. We were told they do not keep track of arrests, only warrants. "If I received a complaint so much so that, if it is a local agency, I would send it to state police for investigation," said Riddle.
But so far, Riddle said he has no formal complaints to his office.