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VPCC hears from citizens with police complaints

By: MICHAEL BORDELON

News Editor

The Ville Platte City Council heard from Arthur Sampson at its meeting Tuesday, April 8, regarding what he claimed were problems in the Ville Platte Police Department.

Sampson said the police department is terrorizing the community.

“I am personally being harassed and picked on by police officers,” he said. “It is getting out of hand. I want the streets clean, but do it in a decent manner.”

Sampson also claimed his brother, who was recently arrested, was beaten by officers. He added he has filed a complaint with Mayor Bill Jeanmard and Police Chief Neal Lartigue, as well as authorities on the state and federal level.

Sampson said some young men in the community are ready to start fighting back, and he does not want to see that happen.

Jeanmard addressed Sampson’s complaints, stating the city takes all matters seriously, but said Sampson needed to be more specific with his complaint.

“We need more information than general accusations,” Jeanmard said. “You said you had video of one incident. You need to provide that to the city. The city has very limited power over the chief’s position, but we need to be provided with evidence before anything can be done.”

In other business, the council:

•Approved the hiring of three new provisional officers: Willis Thomas, Brent Zachary and Joseph Tate. The three hires will bring the department back up to 28 officers.

•Agreed to test two speed humps in the city. Jeanmard said the city receives many requests for speed humps, but in his research, he said he found most of the time those people turn around and ask to have the speed humps removed after a period of time. The council agreed to purchase two speed humps for a trial run to discover how well they will work and whether residents will appreciate them. The trial locations for the speed humps will be decided at a future council meeting.

•Agreed to change the council’s meeting time from 6 p.m. to 5 p.m. The meeting will still be held on the second Tuesday of every month.

•Introduced an ordinance for a non-exclusive franchise agreement with SuddenLink cable for 10 years. Jeanmard said this agreement does not keep other cable companies from coming to Ville Platte or eliminate competition. A public hearing will be held at the council’s next meeting.

•Approved liquor licenses for Relay for Life, which will be held April 18-20, and St. Joseph Catholic Church for an event to be held May 3-4.

•Approved amending the city’s budget to allow for the purchase of a new server. City Clerk Shelley Fruge said the old server, which is nine to 10 years old, has limited hard drive space and she believes it will eventually crash. The council approved the purchase of a new server for $9,932.98 from ISS. The new server will hold 500 gigabytes compared to the old server’s 13 gigabytes.

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