The Ville Platte City Council, Tuesday, heard from George Fisher, President of the Louisiana Chapter of the National Action Network. This is the civil rights organization founded and led by Rev. Al Sharpton.
Fisher was complaining about the city police department and the police hiring procedures.
“We have a bad situation in Ville Platte,” said Fisher.
He said one police officer on the force had worked in Oakdale and then Eunice before coming to work at the city police.. “Why did this officer leave Oakdale and Eunice? Was it investigated? Did he resign or was he fired” asked Fisher.
Fisher brought up an incident where an 11 year old youth allegedly had a gun pointed at him by a police officer.
Fisher said he planning an event on June 17 where we will “police the police.”
Mayor Jennifer Vidrine explained to Fisher that the proper procedure to file a complaint against the police department is to file a complaint directly with the police chief. If the complaintant is not pleased with the results, they can file a complaint with the police civil service board.
Fisher said he will file a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department and State Police.
Police Chief Neal Lartigue replied that his department does a background check on every new hire.
It was learned at the meeting that due to privacy and insurance issues, very little information is released from previous employers.
In other business, the city council gave a standing ovation to Sacred Heart High Student Catherine Briley for representing Ville Plattte well on a national game show. Mayor Jennifer Vidrine presented Catherine Briley who is currently participating on the popular TV game show, Jeopardy, a gift basket containing Ville Platte products.
The mayor said “Catherine’s appearance made the nation take a second look at small town America. She put Ville Platte and Sacred Heart on the map.”
She is expected to appear again on the game show on Thursday and Friday of this week.
A resolution is expected to be voted on by the State legislature in Baton Rouge later this week recognizing Catherine’s accomplishments.
The council, by a 3-2 margin, voted not to approve a routine motion to approve the minutes of last month’s meeting. Those voting no were Freddie Jack, Taranza Arvie and Donald Sam while C.J. Dardeau and Mike Perron voted for the motion. Jack stated that they were voting against the minutes because the new Section 8 Housing Director was appointed without formal approval of the city council last month.
In other action, the city council:
–authorized giving full time paid fire fighters a mandatory two percent increase in pay retroactive to January;
–approved the annexation of property where the new Evangeline Family Medicine Center will be located at 505 East Lincoln next to Smith Air Conditioning;
–introduced an ordinance to prepare a new program such as picking up litter for youth offenders;
–approved beer and liquor permits for the Cheap Store, 3-D Quick Stop and the Smoked Meat Festival;
–received good news from Mayor Jennifer Vidrine that sales tax collections increased 7.34 percent or $13,450 last month over the same period a year ago.