POSTED: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 6:55pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 8:47am
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Continued and pending litigation, harassment and brutality suits have forced the insurance provider for the Sorrento police department to drop its coverage.
It's another blow in a long line of problems for the town of Sorrento.
"We have serious issues with that police department and obviously the insurance carriers feel that the issues that we have doesn't warrant it, they don't want to cover us because they think it's too much of a risk," explained Sorrento Mayor Mike Lambert.
The police department will officially be dropped from its liability insurance on November 19, without insurance, Mayor Lambert explained that it will be near impossible to keep up the five man police department.
"I think the majority of the council realizes that we need to change, and maybe some point down the road we can re-institute our police department but at this point we've got to shut it down and start all over again," shared Lambert.
The Sorrento police department could soon be closing its doors forever, and that has people here wondering who's going to keep them safe.
"I mean we live right off the interstate, right off of airline highway, people going in and out, so you never know. Burglary, theft, all these crimes are going up, and so getting rid of the police department wouldn't be a great idea," said Ralph Smith, a Sorrento resident.
Ascension Sheriff Jeff Wiley has openly assured the people of Sorrento that their calls for help won't go unanswered, but he did add that if Sorrento needs his department’s help in the long run they will be forced to negotiate a service contract. For now, Mayor Lambert said that Sorrento police chief Earl Theriot has some serious decisions to start making.
"That's not a decision based on or for the town council to abolish the police department or to lay off some police officers, that decision is made by the chief of police, he'll have to make that,” said Lambert.
Several calls to Chief Theriot were not returned. Mayor Lambert said the latest pending litigation on top of past allegations of sexual harassment and brutality forced the insurance to drop coverage. The department recently came under fire when it was revealed that one of their officers had been flagged for speeding over 700 times in the last two months.