LAFAYETTE, LA — The Lafayette City-Parish Council voted Tuesday to send much-needed funding to the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office (LPSO).
Two introductory ordinances directly affected the sheriff’s office. It’s funding the agency has asked for, even filing a lawsuit to get some of it.
“Ultimately, our objective is the financial health of the sheriff’s office,” said Lt. John Mowell, LPSO’s Public Information Officer.
Lt. Mowell said his agency is in desperate need of funding, “Our financial health actually directly relates to the people of Lafayette Parish, and that is not something the Sheriff is willing to compromise on.”
This week Sheriff Mark Garber announced 42 employees are losing their jobs in LPSO. 10 programs are being altered or suspended.
“After months of restructuring, reorganizing we finally reached a point where it was inevitable that we had to make some deeper more significant cuts,” admitted Lt. Mowell.
The Juvenile Assessment Center is one program the Sheriff’s office suspended in November, but Tuesday the Lafayette Consolidated Government took the first step to get operations running again, transferring $600,000 from a parish-wide tax funding the Juvenile Detention Home.
The second ordinance is expected to provide an additional $250,000 to LPSO for housing city prisoners in the parish correctional center.
Lt. Mowell said the reorganization in his department will not affect the numbers of deputies patrolling or the public safety of Lafayette Parish, but they hope to reinstate the suspended programs with the help of outside funding.
“They’re not mandated responsibilities for any one agency, but they are very important to the overall wellbeing of the community,” Mowell added. “We’re hopeful that through this process we’ll be able to find a way to get them back online quickly”.
All introductory ordinances passed in one vote, so there was no council discussion about them. After the meeting, News 10 spoke to Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux who sponsored the $600,000 ordinance. He said due to the pending litigation with LPSO, he’d save all his comments for final adoption on December 17.
The Sheriff’s Office said their reorganization became more urgently needed when the Lafayette Police and Fire Departments received their raises.
We asked why the Sheriff’s office has not filed for a raise, and Lt. Mowell said they have no council to go to, so they have to find the money within their existing budget.