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Sorrento Mayor tells council that APSO has already begun police patrols

sorrento1Sorrento Assistant Police Chief Ricky Smith presented a single insurance premium quote for liability coverage of the police department at a Special Meeting on Wednesday.

On November 19, Sorrento PD’s current coverage provider will terminate the liability policy for the patrol officers and their vehicles.  Smith, who claimed to have sought quotes from six or seven providers at the latest regular meeting, informed the council that he had received a single quote in the amount of $67,692 for one year.

Risk Management currently provides coverage for the police department and the town for a little over $32,000 annually.  According to Mayor Mike Lambert, over $24,000 of that total goes toward insurance for the police department.

“If it is the council’s desire, I suggest we take the one quote we have under advisement,” asserted Lambert, “and if others are received, we can consider those as well.  Does the council want to consider any quotes after tonight?” he asked.

He went on to suggest that a committee be impanelled that consists of himself, the town attorney and accountant, Ricky Smith, and two council members, to pursue that course of action.  Ricky Smith is filling in for Police Chief Earl Theriot, who is convalescing after surgery.

“If it’s (the insurance quote) around $70,000, that won’t hurt us,” opined Councilman Randy Anny.  He added that the increased expenditure would offset the monies that Chief Theriot’s department is alleged to have returned to the town in the past in order to maintain Sorrento’s solvency.  “The money is there…and we’re going to work together to figure this thing out.”

Anny then moved that the Mayor’s suggestion be approved by the council.  His motion was adopted and he and Councilman Marvin Martin were designated to represent the council.

Smith went on to say that two insurance companies denied coverage without providing quotes, but he anticipates receiving a few others in the next two days.  Smith named First Team Insurance as one of the companies from which he expects to receive a quote, and he believes that it will be approximately $50,000.  Smith added that the denials were from insurers who insisted on writing a policy for the entire municipality.

sorrento3The council was also asked to grant Mayor Lambert the authority to commence contract negotiations with Ascension Sheriff Jeff Wiley in case replacement insurance is not forthcoming.

“I received a letter from Sheriff Wiley just before the meeting and he has submitted a proposal for us to look at,” Lambert explained.  “The sheriff has offered a short term solution if we have not acquired insurance by the November 19 deadline.  APSO will provide policing for Sorrento from that date through the end of the year so long as it is reimbursed for actual costs.  Anything beyond 2013 is contingent upon a negotiated contract being in place.”

Lambert detailed APSO’s anticipated costs for provision of a full time patrolman at $33/hour and one detective assigned to Sorrento at $40/hour.  Combined with ancillary costs such as administrative and fuel the estimated figure is $37,521.60 through the end of 2013.

“As a matter of fact, APSO has been conducting patrols in Sorrento since last Friday on its own dime.  That has been necessitated by the fact that Sorrento PD is down to a single officer if I’m not mistaken,” Lambert said as he deferred to Ricky Smith.

Sorrento resident Tim Hebert expressed his opposition to APSO policing Sorrento in no uncertain terms.

“You’ve got a quote right there for $67,000.  Put pencil to paper…That’s not cost effective,” he questioned the wisdom in spending any moneys to reimburse APSO which could go toward satisfaction of an insurance premium increase.  “The people want it to stay as it is.  The people don’t want Jeff Wiley.”

Another citizen suggested a referendum be held to allow Sorrento’s voters to decide the issue.

Smith confirmed Lambert’s assessment of the policing situation in Sorrento.  According to Smith, one police officer has already resigned, another is taking some time to consider resigning, and another is currently on medical leave.  The Assistant Chief conceded that, even if insurance is obtained, additional officers will have to be hired if Sorrento PD is to remain an effective force.

Smith presented a letter he claimed to have sent to Risk Management, which details a plan of action “to implement a well-rounded and professional police department” in the future.  The letter was drafted in the vain attempt at persuading Risk Management to reconsider its decision.  The letter went on:

“We have chosen to reevaluate some of our current policies and procedures.  Given the current dilemma regarding insurance underwriting requirements, we will be effectively shutting down the department after the 19th of November deadline until the next council meeting to revamp our policies and procedures, code of ethics, and inventory our equipment.  I would like to have this accomplished before we start a new hiring board, inclusive of your underwriting requirements, to hire police officers that will take on the responsibility of the day to day law enforcement functions of the town of Sorrento.

“With your recommendations we will be immediately implementing an improved policies and procedures manual, code of ethics, restructuring of internal investigations procedure, and inventory our departmental equipment before we start our new hiring board with the assistance of the town council.  The new hiring board will be evaluating all aspects of a potential hires qualifications, character, and background…”

Four members of the council had no information about the letter, or its contents, prior to Wednesday’s meeting.  Councilman Randy Anny immediately exited the premises at the meeting’s conclusion and was not asked for comment.

“It appears that no matter what happens with the insurance, there is going to be a significant gap in police coverage by Sorrento PD,” Councilman Donald Schexnaydre concluded after considering Smith’s plan of action.  “I think the plan of action could be beneficial, but how long will it take to implement?  How long will it take to replace the officers who are no longer with Sorrento PD with new hires?  What happens in the interim?”


  1. Tax Info says:

    Imagine that- this may explain why the sheriff won’t patrol Sorrento, Donaldsonville and even Gonzales without an additional contract. They collect a portion of the sales tax outside of the incorporated areas.

  2. Imagine that says:

    c’mon I understand that several things figure into our police department budget and the wages of the officers.

    BUT If we cannot budget enough to pay officers a decent wage that allows them to live above poverty level and support their families, (After all we are only asking them to risk their lives) we do not need a police department. The quality of the officers we can hire is going to be based on the wages we offer, we get what we pay for; this has been proven by the number of claims the insurance company had to pay for absolutely immature ignorant actions by personnel in our police department, which is why they have chosen to cancel our policy. I like everyone else would like Sorrento to keep our police department, but I do think that it needs an absolute overhaul from the top down.
    I also do not understand why we are having to pay APSO to provide patrols in Sorrento, last time I checked Sorrento was still a part of Ascension Parish, and they are the “Ascension Parish” Sherriffs Office, and though I don’t understand all the workings of government, I’m pretty sure they are funded through parish tax dollars which the people of Sorrento also pay. but I could be wrong about that; do all the other small areas (Giesmar, Prairieville, Galvez , etc) of the parish pay extra for protection from APSO?
    While I’m on my soapbox… it is time for our town council to grow up and act as the mature representatives of the people who elected them, save the drama for your mama’s. get over your ego’s and help Sorrento, we are in an area that has the promise of great potential for growth; especially in the next several years with construction going on in the area with the new plants and businesses looking to build, new businesses would bring new tax dollars and new tax dollars bring about improvements that will attract people who are looking to get away from the drama of the city which brings in money for new home construction, which will bring support for local business which comes back to money to budget to pay police personnel a better wage which would mean we could hire qualified officers who are mature enough to have better judgment than to do the things that has gotten our insurance carrier to cancel our policy.
    We either grow or we fold!
    It is time we become more than the newspaper joke of the week; please remember this when speaking to or in front of news reporters if you cannot conduct yourself as an intelligent mature individual please resign your elected positions and let us elect someone who can.

  3. plant worker says:

    Lmao! When it comes to SPD you get what you pay for!! TEAMWADE#1 FAN!!! :/

  4. Don't pay Mr. wiley Shit it is his job!

  5. WishICouldSay says:

    Lmao @ c’mon2……what are you comparing sorrento pd to when you say how good they are?? They are an abysmal failure and an embarrassment.

    • Lol at these idiots says:

      Comparing them to you and the other idiots that don’t do their homework or get the facts straight. I guess saving lives and serving and protecting don’t account for anything. I guess when they do their job is why you people are complaining. This whole thing is a joke and wouldn’t be an issue if it was another department. You all need to get a life. I’m done with you idiots.

    • I love Sorrento says:

      their only bad when they have to deal with you but if they didn’t deal with as a police situation then you wouldn’t think they were all that bad. I love these people that hate the police because they were caught doing something wrong. but if they weren’t caught or didn’t have to deal with the police they wouldn’t say anything. its not just sorrento its everywhere. Look around.

  6. Barrye says:

    33 dollars is a reimbursable rate. divide that by about 1.75 + or – would be the pay + or -. the excess charges covers premiums paid of the workers income plus profit

  7. c'mon man says:

    HMMMMMM and Imagine that, just realize that the true cost of an employee is much more than their hourly wage.

    If you want to figure out the true cost, divide the Sorrento Police Departments totaly yearly budget by the number of employees for that year to get what it costs the city per employee. It costs the city a certain amount each year to run the police department and for that amount you get x number of employees.

    I think you would be surprised to see what the average hourly cost per employee is.

    • c'mon 2 says:

      c’mon are you an idoit. Thats not how you figure out how much the employees get. They are allocated so much for payroll, gas,training retirement, insurances, maintenance and miscellaneous cost. Then they haves court cost, and other cost factored into their budget. Guess you are not to intelligent. you can’t factor all the budget into their wage. It doesn’t work that way. You probably don’t even live in this town. Its obvious you don’t know how to run off a budget. The sheriff proposed an idea but the figures don’t make sense for the town to pay. Do the math people. What the town would pay the sheriff for one officer and a part time detective you could pay all the officers that are already there. If they don’t like who’s there for officers then do something about those officers. (legally of course) Not all of them are that bad. They do their job by the book. I support the police department for many reasons. They have helped a lot of people in this town. They have saved lives, from car accidents, burning cars, mental breakdowns, and taken a lot of drugs off the streets of sorrento. the have helped in domestic altercations, fights, thefts, made many arrest from the bad checks issued to local businesses. So they do know how to do their job regardless of what some people say. keep up the good work Sorrento PD.

  8. I agree with Imagine that says. I’m sure that the police officers in Sorrento make less than 13.00 an hour. That’s probably even more than the chief makes in a year. Makes me go HMMMMM

  9. Imagine that says:

    It’s funny that we can afford to pay APSO $33 and $40 per hour for a full time patrolman and detective, don’t know what our police dept is paying now but they used to pay less than $10 per hour for the officers on patrol in Sorrento, $37,500 is probably more than any of those officers made in a year, but we are going to pay that for 1 full time patrolman for one month? one of things that make you go hmmmm….

  10. WishICouldSay says:

    What jackass would not want a better trained, better qualified, better equipped police force to patrol the town. It blows my mind to see that someone in this article doesn’t want apso and would rather Sorrento pd.