Bill to abolish Sorrento police department advances

A bill that could eliminate the police department and the position of police chief in the town of Sorrento advanced through the Legislature on Wednesday.

The House Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs Committee approved without objection Senate Bill 601, sponosored by state Sen. Jody Amedee, R-Gonzales.

The bill has already made its way through the Senate and awaits debate on the House floor.

Former Sorrento Police Chief Earl Theriot Jr. called it quits in February, after pleading guilty to a felony charge of lying to an FBI agent during an investigation into sexual assault allegations.

Theriot has been at the center of controversy since his department lost insurance this past fall.

Officials say the town is no longer seeking insurance companies to replace the police department’s liability policies.

In the absence of a police department, public safety in Sorrento would fall to the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Gov. Bobby Jindal has had since Feb 27 to appoint an interim police chief, but has not yet done so.

If the Legislature fails to abolish the department, a special election will be held Nov. 4 to fill the remainder of Theriot’s three year term, which expires June 30, 2017.

Follow Rebekah Allen on Twitter @rebekahallen.