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Opelousas PD owes $100,000 in police car repairs - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Opelousas PD owes $100,000 in police car repairs

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The Opelousas Police Department owes at least $100,000 in patrol unit repairs.

And according to the mayor, those repairs were done without obtaining necessary city approval.

The city is now trying to figure out how they are going to pay off the debt in repairs that date back to 2014.

"Some of these invoices were from 2014-2015 and the purchasing department told us that once they close those purchase orders, the program doesn't allow for us to go back and say okay this for 2014. So the problem is all of a sudden we have to add $100,000 to the budget that we didn't have to add before," said Mayor Reginald Tatum.

Police Chief Donald Thompson said approval wasn't needed because getting the cars fixed was a necessity.

"What happened was that the guys at dealerships and mechanics, they were holding the bill because our budget had not passed and they were working with the police department," said Chief Thompson.

But now, both the chief and the mayor agree that getting the proper requisitions and turning in the invoices will occur from now on.

"You go through our purchasing department, you get requisitions, and a number goes on there. And that's how work is usually done. It was a mistake. I'm not saying they did it intentionally, but they did not follow our procedure," he said.

Chief Thompson admits he didn't follow procedure, but said he repeatedly reported to the council updating them on the repairs to units.

"They knew this day would come because i brought that information to them several times," said the chief.

The mayor agrees he came to the council about having work done, but failed to mention the extent of the invoices.

"He didn't tell the council that the invoices hadn't been turned in, but I'm sure the council thought just like i did that the work was being done. But we didn't know that there was a $100,000 worth of work that hadn't been turned in," said Mayor Tatum.

Thompson has spent the two years of his term advocating for a leasing program, where it would cut the cost nearly $50,000. It still has yet to get approved by council even though these repairs would not be an issue.

"Bottom line, it's still going to affect me and it's still going to come out of my budget. I won't let the city suffer because when i took the oath of office, I promised those people I was going to give them the service and protection they deserve," said Chief Thompson.

The local vendors will get paid but the police department will have to cut corners in order to foot the bills. And now since coming to the agreement of going through the city for requisition approval, the police department has already called for two unit repairs.

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