St. Landry

Jul 16, 2013 10:35 PM by Ian Auzenne

Arnaudville council shoots down rumors of closing police department

The Arnaudville Board of Aldermen tonight squashed rumors of the town's police department being abolished.

Recent media reports said that the Mayor Kathy Richard and the board were in talks with Police Chief Richard Mizzi and the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office to shutter the police department and allow the town's law enforcement to be handled by the sheriff's office. However, Richard and the members of the board quickly refuted those reports.

"I want to make it clear that the abolition of the police department has never been on the table," said alderwoman Annette Guidry to the crowd of 35. "It has never been discussed."

"Officially, the contract doesn't exist," said alderman Ricky Lagrange after the meeting. "The request doesn't even exist."

Mizzi did not attend the meeting.

Mayor Kathy Richard said that even if a contract with the sheriff's office were created, the Arnaudville Police Department would still exist. Deputy Chief Paul DiCapo of the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office echoed that sentiment, adding that a contract would place the town under 24-hour patrol with only one deputy on duty at a time. Deputies would work 12-hour shifts in the town.

Mizzi, however, would still receive his pay as police chief, as he is an elected official.

The audience eventually began to air its grievances about the police department during the open comments portion of the meeting. Many in attendance complained about officers not responding when called. Some vowed to start a recall petition against Mizzi.

DiCapo told the residents that the sheriff's office will respond when they call for help.

"I would much rather that (Mizzi) do his job, but we won't stand by and let Arnaudville fall into the Bayou Teche because he won't do his job," DiCapo said.



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