I-TEAM: Napoleonville speeding ticket program suspended
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Days after the WAFB I-TEAM started asking questions about it, the speeding ticket enforcement program in Napoleonville has been suspended according to the Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Office.
The Napoleonville Village Council held a special meeting Friday, July 21, 2023, to discuss the program due to concerns raised since it was put in place. According to the sheriff’s office, the move essentially shuts down the entire program.
“I applaud the Mayor and Council’s actions in recognizing that the program is not in anyone or any agency’s best interests,” said Sheriff Leland Falcon. “As Sheriff, I have and will continue to provide professional law enforcement services to the residents of Assumption Parish and the Village of Napoleonville. The Mayor and Council requested that my office provide traffic enforcement whenever and wherever needed in the Village, which we have and will continue to do so.”
This comes days after the WAFB reported on concerns over the program. One of those concerns was the fact that the tickets appeared to have been issued by the Napoleonville Police Department, which the sheriff’s office says does not exist. There was also a question over where the money collected from the tickets will go. Captain Lonny Cavalier, with the Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Office, believes the program was all about raising funds for the village and he says if leaders want to bring in more revenue, they should go to the people and ask for a tax instead.
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“We are very pleased that the program is ending and we will continue to support the Village of Napoleonville in every way possible,” said Cavalier.
Cavalier says one deputy who was contracted for the ticket program and commissioned through the Village doesn’t count as having a police department to implement the program.
“There has not been a police department here and functioning for many years under the current sheriff or the prior two sheriffs and you can’t wake up one day and have a police department. He was commissioned as an officer for the Napoleonville Police Department just a few days ago for the sole purpose of implementing this program,” he said.
A contract obtained by the WAFB I-TEAM spells out the agreement between the village and Emergent Enforcement Solutions. The company only provides the equipment for the program and was supposed to collect a percentage of each ticket written in the village for a minimum of six months. Now Cavalier questions if there’s a violation of that agreement and he says council members will have to meet again to determine exactly how to sort things out going forward. His concerns are the tickets that have already been written and the money that may have already been collected.
“We’re going to sort through that as they go forward,” said Cavalier. “Obviously everybody’s now going to have to speak with their legal counsel as far as the contract and the Village to hash that out”
WAFB did reach out to the owner of Emergent Enforcement Solutions who says he has no plans to sue the Village of Napoleonville but refused to do an interview about the matter.
Cavalier does acknowledge there are some speeding issues in the area but he says the sheriff has committed to stepping up enforcement in Napoleonville. Now that this new program is no more, he calls it a win-win.
“It’s a win for everybody,” said Cavalier. “At the end of the day, it’s a win for the taxpayers.”
WAFB was able to reach Mayor Ron Animashaun who said he supports the council’s decision to suspend the program.
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