The Port Allen city council has unanimously approved an ordinance whereby newly hired police officer trainees must enter into a two-year contract with the city.
If the police officer trainee chooses to break that contract, the ordinance states that they must, “reimburse the City of Port Allen for the total costs incurred and expended for his/her training, including the costs of personal protective equipment and uniforms.”
“It’s not fair to the taxpayers of our city that they are footing this bill,” Councilman Garry Hubble said. “These people up and leave and we have no recourse on it.”
Since Port Allen Police Chief Esdron Brown’s term began in January, he has consistently hired police officers to bring the total numbers of officers to or near capacity.
However, since 2011, a total of 17 turnovers have plagued the department, according to statistics provided by Hubble at the July 9 city council meeting.
The police department experienced one turnover in 2011, four in 2012, seven in 2013 and five this year, according to Hubble.
“Prior chiefs couldn’t get the people hired,” Brown said.
The ordinance, which was unanimously approved on Aug. 13, also requires that police officers immediately surrender uniforms and/or equipment when requested to do so in writing by the police chief.
The ordinance mirrors a city ordinance for the Port Allen fire department, before the fire department transferred to parish control on July 1.
The fire ordinance required similar reimbursement of expenses if a firefighter or firefighter trainee voluntarily left the department within three years of employment, respectively.
CFO Audrey McCain clarified that the requirement for police officer trainees to enter into a contract with the city will not be retroactive. “This is for all police officer trainees hired after the effective date of the ordinance,” she said.