Crowley POLICE CHIEF RESPONDS TO ALDERMAN’S ACCUSATIONS
CROWLEY — Following the explosive ending to Wednesday night’s city council committee meetings, The Crowley Post-Signal reached out to Police Chief Jimmy Broussard for comment.
During the Revenue and Finance Committee meeting, Chairman Jeff Cavell accused Broussard of, among other things, attempting to “circumvent the system” in the purchase of body cameras for the department. (See related story, this page.)
“The three issues Mr. Cavell brought up were prior to this administration and council and were all rectified prior to the incident at the committee meeting — with the exception of the body cameras,” Broussard said. “I feel Mr. Cavell used the opportunity to make a personal attack on me for possibly some type of personal vendetta he or friends of his may have against me.”
Among Cavell’s accusations was that the city was cited for violating the state bid law because of “extras the chief of police had the dealer add” when a truck was purchased for his use.
“With regards to the truck that is used as my unit, Mayor Greg Jones, in his term, gave me the availability to purchase the vehicle,” Broussard said. “It was discovered later that it exceeded the limits by $2,000, purchased from a local dealership.”
Cavell also alluded to “miscellaneous gas receipts from the CPD transport and taxi service of a parent to a correctional facility for a personal visitation” in his statement.
“With regards to the transportation of a family to see their juvenile loved one at a facility in Minden, the family was poor and did not have transportation, nor were they able to garner transportation,” said Broussard. “Two off-duty reserve officers accepted to take the family there as a public service to the family.
“Though an off-duty, older model Crown Victoria was used, Mr. Cavell failed to mention that the money for the gas was reimbursed by me from my personal account so as not to burden the city, and was considered at that time, hence, rectified.
“Maybe I erred on the side of compassion, but my thoughts were to be of service to the public that we are honored to serve. For as long as I can remember, officers have assisted citizens even at times with transportation here or there. My thought process was the ancient motto of ‘To Protect and to Serve’.”
Finally, Cavell pointed out that Broussard, himself, signed a contract for the purchase of body cameras for the police department, a duty, by state law, reserved for the mayor of a municipality.
“With regards to the body cameras, again two years ago, when Mayor Jones was unavailable, I consulted another member of the administration who, to their knowledge, thought that I had the ability to sign the contract since the money would have come out of my existing budget,” Broussard explained. “I admit my fault in taking at face value and not checking. I was two years into my term and, like many of the present council, I was still learning the ‘ins and outs’ of the position.
“In addition, I had sent a letter to city hall in 2019 requesting a payment be made out of my budget for the cameras, of which emails acknowledging that request and subsequent bills requested were submitted, but they were never paid, because ‘it was still with legal.’
“Mr. Cavell, in his insinuations, compared me to a bank robber. Yes, we do operate on a $3.4 million budget, 65 percent of which goes to salaries and benefits of a 42-person department. Anytime I have approached the council for funding, it has not been for myself but for the officers of this department. I have fought for the officers of this department to get them the equipment that is necessary to perform their jobs in a professional manner.
“The fleet that was purchased for officers was exactly for that, officers. The body cameras, which with all the situations going on today are of an imperative nature, are for the officers. Every issue I have brought before the council has been for the department, not for me personally.
“If that is indicative of a bank robber, then maybe I once again am confused as to the definition of a bank robber, because usually the suspect would have personal benefit in it. The only personal benefit I have in this is the same benefit the citizens of this city have — that is having a professional working police department that has their necessary equipment.
“The law, in addition, says that a crime has to have ‘specific intent or malice’ which, again, was emphatically not the case in any of these.
“Mr. Cavell has made it very public that he believes that police officers are paid too much (Crowley police officers start at $22,000 a year approximately) and we should be cut about 25 percent of our budget,” Broussard concluded. “Mr. Cavell has never sought me out personally to discuss these matters, but rather chose to ‘blast’ me in a public forum.”
During the fracas following Cavell’s statements Wednesday night, it was noted that Broussard was not present for the committee meeting when he had been in the audience earlier in the evening.
“I had an emergency that I had to deal with that evening and had to leave, but was trying to return to the meeting prior to this issue coming up,” the chief explained.