A new sheriff is starting his term in Evangeline Parish, marking a change in leadership for the first time in more than a decade.
Charles Guillory took over for Eddie Soileau whose 12 years in office featured a Department of Justice investigation and massive layoffs.
The new sheriff is hoping to turn things around and is asking the community for help.
Guillory wants to hear from the public. He says he wants to have meetings where concerns can be shared.
"If I can get them to the table, whether it's a round table set up it doesn't matter, that way we can talk about problems in the community and try to work to resolve those," Guillory said.
He says one of the department's biggest issues is the budget. He says 2.5 million dollars is just not enough
"Protection and safety is not free, it costs money," Guillory said."I have 9 patrolmen on duty. Not all on duty at the same time. That's not adequate."
As for a solution, the sheriff says it's time to revisit taxes. He hopes voters will consider an increase for the department.
"I need to educate the people exactly where my revenue comes from," Guillory said. "I get no law enforcement fund. The only funding I get is property taxes and that was set in 1977. "
He added, "I can assure getting an increase the money will be well spent. Anybody can come look (at the budget). I'll never turn anybody away. That's how you get trust with the public is when you're transparent. That's why I need additional funding. My staff is very low."
Another goal Guillory wants to achieve is having resource officers at school's in the parish.
Guillory also wants to work with local pastors to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community.
"I am a Christian," Guillory said. " If you want to pray, we can pray together too.I have to where to the community can also trust the police and the police can trust the community and that's what it's all about. "
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
To reach the newsroom or report a typo/correction, click HERE.
Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Evening News Headlines, Latest COVID-19 Headlines, Morning News Headlines, Special Offers