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GETTING ANSWERS: Police agencies throughout Acadiana low on officers

Posted: 6:34 PM, Jun 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-18 19:48:20-04

Throughout Acadiana, police agencies see loss of officers to higher paying jobs. This month alone Lafayette Parish Sheriff Office lost six.

“About 4 of those have gone to other law enforcement agencies, 2 have left for the oil field,” said Lieutenant John Mowell, spokesperson with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office.

The cost of losing an officer can be high for the agency. Mowell says officers are paid while attending the academy, but that’s not the only training.

“It really takes you about two years to train an officer and get him ready to be out on the street on his own,” Mowell added. He says the knowledge of a trained officer is highly valued.

The Lafayette Sheriff office is not the only agency that sees their force leave for higher paid jobs. In Duson, Police Chief Kip Judice took over in 2015.

He says before he took over, officers were not employed there for long.

“The average retention time for a Duson Police prior to 2015 was one year.” Judice explained.

He too sees the high cost in officers leaving. “You lose the three months of salary that you paid him to sit in academy cause you have to pay him for 12 weeks,” Judice said.

Since a pay raise in 2015, Judice says his officers stay with him a lot longer.

“It’s completely changed around. Its turned the tide in regards to our retention and the quality of people were getting is completely better than the past.”

Since arriving in 2015, he says several guys he hired are still there.

“I have four of six officers that have been here now for four years,” Judice said.

Lafayette Sheriff Mark Garber has been pushing for the same pay increase in his department.

“The sheriff has made that a top priority is to raise the pay for the deputies that are working here. So that’s one of the ways that will alleviate that problem going forward,” Mowell said.