The Addis Town Council voted Wednesday to appease several residents’ requests, including that of the WBR Parish President, Riley “Pee Wee” Berthelot, to exclude Myhand Park from a town ordinance that causes events in public areas in the town to hire Addis police officers as security.
The ordinance, #2013-5, was in the process of being amended, during the Addis September meeting, to allow the Addis Police Department to have the first right of refusal to do security at events and gatherings in public areas within town limits where alcohol would be consumed, served or sold.
The ordinance was being amended after complaints that some security details, during events, did not have police vehicles or proper communications devices. The amendment would also bring more money into the town of Addis, as many people hired and paid officers from Plaquemine P.D., Iberville Sheriff’s Office and WBR Sheriff’s Office.
However, Berthelot and parish parks and recreation executive director Anatole Vincent said that the amendment included, specifically, Myhand Park, and said that the way the amendment was written at the time would cause some family barbeques and small gatherings, as well as softball tournaments and other events, to be illegal if a security detail was not hired.
“If you’re going to have a barbeque while your kids play in the splash pad at the park – if you adopt this ordinance the way it’s written, you’re going to have to have police there,” Berthelot told the council during the September meeting, warning them of the rhetoric in the proposed ordinance.
Vincent said that he was worried that having to hire an officer would add an unneeded expense to many benefits that take place at the park.
“We don’t feel like there’s any policy issues there,” Vincent said.
During Wednesday’s meeting, the council decided to adopt the ordinance, but excluded Myhand Park.
“If you remember, we discussed this at length at the last meeting and the only things that’s really changed from the ordinance that we discussed last meeting – there was a desire to exclude Myhand Park from the provisions of this,” said Addis Town Attorney Dana Larpenteur. “Paragraph H basically says ‘exempted from this requirement are any events at Myhand Park.’”
Ordinance 2013-5 now states that any event or gathering in public areas where alcohol is to be consumed, served, or sold, shall be required to have police officers from the town of Addis present at the applicants expense during the duration of the event or gathering.
Councilman Lance “Yogi” Gauthreaux motioned, followed by a second by council member Rhonda Kelley, to approve ordinance 2013-5 as read.