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New Sorrento police chief misses forum on referendum that could eliminate her office


SORRENTO, Louisiana — New Sorrento Police Chief Fern Barnett could not attend the Town Council's last public forum before a Nov. 4 referendum that could eliminate her department, because she was busy baby-sitting.

The Advocate reports ( Mayor Mike Lambert read a typed letter from Barnett Tuesday night, who apologized for not making the meeting. "I was already committed to babysit for my granddaughter, who is on the night shift this month, and she was unable to find someone else for tonight," Lambert read.

Barnett, who became the town's police chief after two other candidates dropped out of the Nov. 4 election for the position, was sworn into office Tuesday afternoon. She asked for and received keys to the Police Department, Lambert said.

Barnett, a former Sorrento police clerk, will complete the unfinished term of former Police Chief Earl Theriot Jr. That could change, however, if town residents vote to abolish the Police Department and the position of police chief.

Theriot resigned in February as part of a plea agreement to a federal charge of lying to an FBI agent about inappropriate sexual contact with a woman he picked up while on duty.

Theriot's term ends June 30, 2017.

If voters decide to abolish the department and the position, Barnett has said she will consider stepping down. Town officials have said she could serve out the remainder of Theriot's term if the department is eliminated, but she would not have an agency to direct. If Barnett did step down, the position of police chief would be abolished.

Information from: The Advocate,

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