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Sheriff criticizes timing of police chief’s opposition to tax

Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mark Garber is criticizing the timing of Lafayette Police Chief Toby Aguillard’s opposition to the law enforcement tax.

Tonight, we’re hearing from Chief Aguillard about the memo he sent just days before the election.

If the tax passes, nearly $25 million would be generated for and dedicated to law enforcement.

“Before I turn over a blank check to the sheriff, I simply want all of the questions answered,” said Aguillard. “Right now, there are too many unanswered questions.”

He wants to know where the money will be spent. Aguillard said there is no concrete plan in place if the tax passes, despite the sheriff filing a covenant with the clerk of court’s office.

According to the sheriff’s office, the covenant is binding and enforceable, so they could be sued if they don’t use the money as outlined.

“Why wouldn’t he want to share in this revenue? I’m beyond baffled to his late-breaking opposition to a tax that benefits every single law enforcement agency in this parish,” Garber said.

The sheriff says the covenant has provisions for LPD to receive supplemental pay and to fully fund 20 more officer positions.

“I think the voters are smart enough to figure out what’s good for them as a community and separate the politics from it,” said Garber.

Aguillard said, “The dollar amounts we perceive will be taken from the City of Lafayette will not, in return, be given to Lafayette PD in proportion. I think that needs to be addressed if this will be a viable option for both the sheriff and PD.”

Aguillard is a civil service employee. We asked him if he felt like he was crossing a line by sharing his view on the tax in a memo with employees.

Aguillard said, “I was advised that as chief, I could speak to this matter without violating any civil service rules.”

Garber said, “It comes as a big surprise to me because we’ve had a lot of discussions about this tax. He’s told me very early on he has no authority to negotiate on behalf of the Lafayette Police Department; I would have to discuss with Mayor-President Robideaux.”

Voting opens at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday and closes at 8:00 p.m.

Chris Welty

Chris Welty

Chris Welty is a multimedia journalist at KATC.
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