To accomplish this, the Henderson Police Department allegedly established a quota for traffic citations and paid officers based on the number of citations issued, violations of state law.
Moreover, according to OIG investigator Ernest Green, the department falsified payroll records, turning pay-per-ticket into hourly wages for the benefit of reimbursement through a state-administered grant.
Chief of Police Leroy Guidry and Lt. Oliver Mack Lloyd were arrested Friday afternoon, charged with multiple counts of filing or maintaining false public records and payroll fraud and one count each of malfeasance in office and criminal conspiracy.
They were released on their own recognizance and as of press-time on Tuesday, were still on the job as police officers for Henderson. Mayor Sherbin Collette told Teche News he would consult with lawyers and risk management professionals to see how to proceed.
“I want to do the right thing,” Collette said.
Inspector General Stephen B. Street Jr. declined to comment on whether there will be any further arrests in the case. The investigation, which began with a tip from a whistleblower, is still open, Street said.
A third man, former HPD officer Randall “Randy” Trahan, now a resident of Lafayette, was arrested on an unrelated charge of illegal possession of a firearm.
According to an affidavit filed by Green to obtain arrest warrants, Chief Guidry denied having a quota system for traffic tickets but told OIG investigators he used a “productivity” system in which officers were paid $30 an hour if they wrote at least two tickets.
“If you write two tickets, I’ll give you an hour – it’s hard to give tickets on the interstate,” he is quoted as telling investigators.
Mayor Collette acknowledged knowing about the system, as did town clerk Sue Dupuis, according to the affidavit.
“Further, this increase in revenue allowed town officials to authorize 100 percent payment of the health insurance coverage for the mayor, Chief Guidry and their spouses,” Green wrote. “Records disclosed that during a 19-month period between Aug. 2010 and Feb. 2012, the Town of Henderson paid more than $15,000 in health insurance coverage for Chief Guidry and his spouse. Records also disclosed that this benefit is not offered to other town employees’ spouses.”
In 2005, the Town of Henderson annexed a strip of I-10 from the Atchafalaya Basin levee to the “Henderson” exit, which is not in the corporate limits. City police in fact have to drive out of town to patrol its strip of the interstate.
According to Green’s affidavit, OIG was alerted to the quota/bounty system by a former police officer who had participated in the system. In February, OIG investigators seized paper records and computer files at the town hall, here.
Randy Trahan, who was with the department in 2009, was a convicted felon at the time and allegedly had someone else purchase his duty pistol to sidestep the background screening at the point of purchase.
The incident raises questions about the police department’s own screening procedures for new officers.