A St. Landry Parish Sheriff's deputy has been arrested and booked on criminal charges. He also was terminated from his job.
Elliot Patrick Bertrand, 37, of Eunice was booked with felony theft, felony injuring public records and felony malfeasance.
The investigation into Bertrand, who was a major in the office, in charge of fleet operations and search & rescue, began in September when a local business owner called and made a complaint about him. The accusation was that Bertrand used his position as a diver for personal gain in November 2020.
Bertrand was immediately put on administrative leave while the investigation was underway.
He was questioned by detectives this week, and allegedly admitted to accepting the payment for a dive on a submerged vehicle. He said allegedly admitted to cashing the check and said he was the only person paid for the work on the submerged vehicle, and that he used Sheriff's Office equipment to do so.
According to Sheriff Bobby Guidroz, any invoice for services provided "should have been handled by the Sheriff Department accounts receivable personnel for diver(s) and/or department equipment billing. Additionally, the dive for water recoveries must be approved by supervisor(s) and the Sheriff should have been notified of such a recovery attempt. Major Bertrand’s failure to submit said documents, payment for use of department equipment, and receiving personal compensation rises to the level of intentionally concealing documents from a public entity, which would be subject to public records.”
“It is a sad day when I have to arrest one of my own for the mishandling of public funds. I have always been and will always be transparent especially when it comes to the public’s equipment and public funds, Guidroz added.”
Here's the Sheriff's statement to the citizens of St. Landry Parish:
Seventeen years ago when I announced my candidacy for Sheriff, I told the citizens of St. Landry Parish that I would be honest, fair and provide equal justice to all, which included my employees. I said that I was ‘Committed to a Higher Standard' as it applied to my job and responsibilities as Sheriff of St. Landry Parish!
When I was sworn in, I held my hand on the bible in the presence of my wife, children, grandchildren, and hundreds of onlookers.
I took the oath of office promising that I would adhere to the constitution and the laws of the United States, and the constitution and laws of the State of Louisiana to the best of my abilities so help me God!
That oath holds true today as it did 16 years ago.
I said in my acceptance speech that I would be transparent and accountable to the citizens of St. Landry Parish....l kept my promise!
In those 16 years as Sheriff, I had to investigate and arrest 20 of my department employees on assault and battery, domestic violence, theft, malfeasance, and in rare cases dismiss employees on Administrative Policy violations that warranted dismissal from office.
Today I am here because one of my employees, one that I admire and trusted with a big responsibility violated my trust in him.
On October 2, 2022, I received a formal complaint from a local business man that brought forth an accusation and evidence of an alleged crime that was perpetuated against him in November, 2020.
In September 2022, my detective division initiated and investigation on Major Eliot P. Bertrand. This investigation has resulted in charges of (1) count of Felony Theft; (1) count of Felony Injuring Public Records; and, (1) count of Felony Malfeasance.
Today, October 5, 2022, Eliot P. Bertrand was booked into the St. Landry Parish Jail. Bond has been set at $8,000 dollars.
This investigation continues as information continues to come to investigators attention for review.