EBR Sheriff and Mayor battle over federal funds


POSTED: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 6:06pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 6:17pm

A fight over federal dollars has two top leaders in East Baton Rouge Parish at odds.

Sheriff Sid Gautreaux and Mayor-President Kip Holden can't come to an agreement to cash in on $4 million in federal grant money.

It all goes back to 2009, when GOHSEP changed the grant application, adding the sheriff's approval and signature to the list of requirements. GOHSEP administers the federal money for this grant.

Since that change, the applications have gone unsigned, and so have the grant checks. Tonight, the Metro Council weighs in. In the past, the council has urged Mayor Holden to let Sheriff Gautreaux review and sign the application.

Councilman Chandler Loupe made a last minute addition to tonight's agenda that could have a huge impact on law enforcement in EBR and fuel the fire between the Sheriff's Department and the Mayor's Office further. Loupe is proposing a feasibility study be ordered to determine if one mega police force would benefit the parish. Loupe says he had the idea for the united force before, but the fight over this grant made him add it to tonight's agenda. He says municipalities like Baker PD and Zachary PD would remain in tact, but the Sheriff's Department and BRPD would work as one. It is unclear if that proposal is in accordance with the state constitution, which grants specific powers to sheriffs in each parish. The plan would ultimately have to be voted on by the residents of EBR. That vote could take place as early as this November.

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