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May 6, 2014 2:33 PM by Heather Miller

St. Martinville police chief suspended

The St. Martinville City Council voted unanimously Monday night to suspend Police Chief Paula Smith for two days without pay.

St. Martinville Mayor Pro Tem Craig Prosper said the decision stems from Smith's failure to generate monthly reports on citations and tickets, as well as concerns from the community about the overall competency of the police department.

Prosper said the council has repeatedly requested monthly reports from the police department so they can respond to constituent complaints and show them what exactly is being done to address them.

"It's about accountability," Prosper said. "Without this information it's hard to communicate to our constituents what could be happening with the police department. The voice of the constituents is loud and clear that we need to get a handle on the police department."

The council has also requested a written report over what Prosper calls "mishandling" of a pit bull in Prosper's district. Pit bulls are banned within the city limits unless they follow very strict guidelines, and Prosper said the police chief did nothing about the dog for almost 10 days despite numerous phone calls from Prosper.

Prosper also noted that one of the department's officers knew about the pit bull and still did not address it.

Smith can appeal the council's decision by going before the civil service board, Prosper said. The police chief declined to comment on her suspension. 


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