Sorrento council orders police department audit

Wade McIntyre

SORRENTO – The Town Council Tuesday agreed to pay its accounting firm Faulk & Winkler $5,000 to review problem areas in the Police Department based on a regular audit performed by the firm last year.

To be addressed are a number of repetitive issues such as an annual department fundraiser and accounting of collected traffic fines which were cited for discrepancies by the firm in its most recent town audit.

The audit will also address the performance of recently purchased accounting software in the department and examine the sale of surplus equipment and items seized by the department.

Councilwoman Troy Braud said the audit was needed to see if department problems had been corrected since the town audit.

The department has seen turnover in the two top positions in recent weeks. Clerk Tracey Loupe was recently discharged from her job by the council after she was given a chance to attend anger management classes and retain the position.

Unpaid reservist Michael Liker, who acted as No. 2 in command in the department, resigned under pressure after council members learned he falsified his job application by withholding previous police jobs he held.

At the March 3 meeting the council beefed up its oversight policy by requiring that vehicles seized by the department be advertised in the official town journal and for sale by sealed bids to be opened during council meetings.

Bids were previously handled inside the police department.

Although such bids are a matter of public record, Police Chief Earl Theriot after that meeting refused to allow The Weekly Citizen to see bids received by his department for a 2000 Honda Accord that the department advertised for sale last November.

The Weekly Citizen wanted to verify the number and price range of the bids, but Theriot told its reporter to “Get a court order.”

In other business at the Tuesday meeting, the council:

• Purchased four chainsaws from Gonzales Hardware for $1,326.

• Declared April Flood Prevention Week in the town.

• Adopted an ordinance requiring police officers to reimburse the town for uniforms and other equipment items if they leave the force less than 12 months after joining the department. Town attorney Greg Lambert said new hires would not have to pay for the items if they leave during the 90-day probation period, unless they were let go for misconduct.

• Issued a proclamation in support of the annual Sorrento Trail Ride event to be put on by the town volunteer fire department March 27-29.