ST. LANDRY PARISH, La. (KLFY) The small town of Melville is making some tough decisions regarding its policing.
The community’s mayor and police chief are at odds, and the St. Landry Parish Sheriff was in the middle during Tusday’s town hall.
News Ten’s Neale Zeringue reports from Melville with the latest.
Melville is a town that has been slowly shrinking along with its budget for decades. It has a hard time paying for how much it costs to operate a local government and police department.While the police chief is asking for his budget to grow, the sheriff posed an alternative solution.
“I need to do this for you. The Sheriff has to take over these smaller municipalities.”
The mayor of Melville requested St. Landry Sheriff Bobby Guidroz help them figure out their policing problem.
The town’s elected chief is currently on medical leave, and with only one part-time officer, he says there is a shortage in safety.
“This chief was elected on the merit that he does not work. The crime level is high here. Anything goes here because they know we lack law enforcement.”
“You know what you have to quit playing.”
“I’m injured. I still am, and I’m not going against my doctor’s orders and if they want to charge me with malfeasance, have at it.”
Chief Anthony Moreau says he has lost several officers because no one wants to move here or drive their personal vehicle from a parish away just for $10 an hour.
Last year, he forwarded 111 calls to the Sheriff’s Office because of no local officers being available, but Guidroz says unless it’s a life-or-death situation, no more.
“That’s your job. That’s your baby to rock, and if you don’t think I can stop sending my deputies here, try me.”
Guidroz suggested either recalling Chief Moreau or once his term expires, eliminating the police department and contracting law enforcement, but he quickly learned the town’s budget wouldn’t cover half the cost of him sending four deputies to patrol.
“You cannot afford me, and I would never sign a contract to do that. I’ve got a big parish, and the people in the parish, I have to answer to first.”
There is some good news for Melville policing tonight. An additional officer was hired, but the police budget brought before the tabled because it asked for an increase in funds.
Reporting in Melville, Neale Zeringue. KLFY News 10.