French Settlement police chief accused of malfeasance in office, other charges

French Settlement police chief accused of malfeasance in office, other charges
French Settlement Chief Harry Brignac (Source: WAFB)
French Settlement Chief Harry Brignac (Source: WAFB)

FRENCH SETTLEMENT, LA (WAFB) - The Chief of the French Settlement Police Department was arrested Wednesday on several charges, according to the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office.

Chief Harry Brignac, 71, was arrested by LPSO on charges of misdemeanor theft, injuring public records, and malfeasance in office. His bond has been set at $50,500.

According to a news release, investigators learned Brignac used a fleet fuel card to buy 24 gallons of gas, totaling $60, for his personal truck at a convenience store on LA 16 on May 15.

"This purchase was not authorized by the Village of French Settlement.  This unauthorized purchase was captured on video surveillance.  Brignac was in his police uniform," Sheriff Jason Ard said in a statement.

French Settlement Mayor Toni Guitrau issued a statement:

"A routine check of monthly fuel use by the police department noted some discrepancies. As Mayor of French Settlement, I'd like to say that this matter was turned over and is under investigation by the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office, so any questions should go to them. The French Settlement Chief of Police is elected and therefore not an employee of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen. I have confidence in Sheriff Ard and our District Attorney Scott Perrilloux, as they do their job investigating this matter, be it a civilian or an elected official. This will be a difficult time ahead as this unfortunately effects the community, too."

"Brignac is a long-time law enforcement official.  We are friends.  But, evidence is evidence.  And, as the Chief Law Enforcement Officer for the parish Livingston - I have a job to do.  After examining the evidence, it was clear what happened on May 15.  This investigation continues," Ard said.

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Ard said Brignac was "very cooperative" with investigators.

Ard said other charges are possible in the investigation.

When asked about how the police chief's arrest would affect the town of French Settlement, he said, "Some of the trust may have been broken but at the same time they see that we still do our job no matter who it is."

The sheriff clarified that Brignac is an elected official as the police chief of French Settlement and remains the police chief despite his arrest.

The investigation remains ongoing.

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