Sorrento voters to decide future of town's police department in special election Nov. 4

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SORRENTO, Louisiana — Sorrento voters will decide the future of the town's police department in a special election Nov. 4 called by the town council.

The council, in a 4-1 vote Tuesday, agreed to ask voters to decide whether to abolish the department, now made up of just Assistant Police Chief Ricky Smith, and whether to eliminate the department's elected position of police chief.

"Come November, we'll let the people decide what they want," Mayor Mike Lambert said.

In another move hindering the already flailing department, the Town Council also drastically cut the amount of funding the Police Department is to receive for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

The budget amendment now funds the Police Department only through July 31 and eliminates Smith's salary.

The amendment moves $132,000 from the Police Department's $367,350 budget to pay for Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office protection from July 1 to Nov. 30.

In February, Chief Earl Theriot Jr. resigned prior to pleading guilty to lying to an FBI agent.

The police chief's position been vacant since then.

Voters also will decide Nov. 4 whether to fill the remainder of Theriot's term, which expires June 30, 2017, if any candidates qualify to run.

The Advocate reports ( ) no one has announced they will run for the position.

Information from: The Advocate,

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