Sorrento police chief bill clears Senate

The Louisiana Senate quickly approved legislation Wednesday that would allow the elected Sorrento police chief position to be abolished.

The Senate voted 36-0 for the measure by state Sen. Jody Amedee, R-Gonzales.

The legislation comes in the wake of the resignation of Sorrento’s Police Chief Earl Theriot Jr.

Theriot had been at the center of controversy since his police department lost liability and vehicle insurance last fall. The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office has been providing police patrols for the town. Theriot later pled guilty to federal criminal charges related to sexual assault of a woman.

Senate Bill 601 would allow the Sorrento council, upon recommendation of the mayor, adopt an ordinance calling for an election to abolish the office of chief of police, the police department, or both.

If voters approve, the office would be abolished at the end of the term of the police chief in office at the time or when a vacancy occurs in the office whichever occurs first. If it is filled by a temporarily appointed officer, the office would be abolished as per the ordinance.

If either the office of the police chief or the police department, or both are abolished, the mayor and council can contract or enter into a cooperative endeavor agreement with any law enforcement entity or officers within Ascension Parish for police services for the town.