New Iberia officials taking steps to bring back city police - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

New Iberia officials taking steps to bring back city police

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New Iberia City Hall New Iberia City Hall

The City of New Iberia is taking steps toward bringing back a city police department. 

In 2004, the city's administration dissolved the police department, giving responsibility to the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office. 

Mayor Freddie DeCourt proposed a $8.9 million city police budget to the council. He said, "If we choose to do this, it has to be beneficial for all, and of course finances drive the bus on almost everything." 

According to the mayor, the city police department would cost about $8.9 million to start up and operate in its first year. To sustain in subsequent years, the department would cost $7.2 million per year with 80 employees.

One person who's optimistic about the possibility of City Police is Sheriff Louis Ackal. 

The sheriff said, "If the city wants to have their own police department, I say more power to them. I'd be glad to get rid of the city. It's a headache on my back. It's been a headache since 2008."

According to the sheriff, the change would save his department $2 million every year and would save resources. Ackal said the department is already stretched to its limits. 

KATC's Travis Guillory asked Sheriff Ackal what he thinks about residents saying the sheriff's office does not police the city well. He responded, "That irritates the hell out of me, and I wish they'd bring that to my attention and show me where because those people that are saying that are so lost in the fog. We are here. We're all over the place. We answer every call that comes through us, and what the hell do they mean about we're not doing our job."

Mayor DeCourt is proposing a half-cent sales tax to pay for the department. He said, "That half-cent is critical. Nothing is going to change no matter who provides our law enforcement if we don't have some additional dollars. So, this can't happen or can't be sustained without a half-cent sales tax."

The city and sheriff's office are currently bound to a one-year contract. 

If approved by the council, a half-cent sales tax could be on the November ballot.

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