HENDERSON, LOUISIANA — The Louisiana Inspector General’s Office has arrested the top two officers of the Henderson Police Department following a yearlong investigation into an illegal traffic citation quota system paid for through state grant dollars.
The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/NTDVjO ) Henderson Police Chief Leroy Guidry and Deputy Chief Oliver Mack Lloyd were arrested Friday on nine counts of filing or maintaining false public records, nine counts of public payroll fraud, and one count each of malfeasance and criminal conspiracy.
According to the arrest affidavits, the investigation began in August 2011 after the Office of Inspector General received a complaint alleging officers were receiving illegal payments from the city for traffic citations issued on Interstate 10.
The complainant stated that officers who participated in the traffic enforcement program were being paid $15 for each citation written, and were expected to write two tickets per hour, amounting to a quota system. The payments were made through a state grant from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission between the years of 2009 and 2011.
The affidavit says more than $16,000 in fraudulent payments went to officers involved in the program from the $189,000 state grant received by the city.
The town of Henderson received about $2.4 million dollars in fines and forfeitures, primarily from citations issued by officers, which accounts for more than 80 percent of the town’s overall revenue, the affidavit says.
State law prohibits a state agency, political subdivision or law enforcement agency to offer a financial reward or other benefit to a law enforcement officer based on the number of citations the officer issues.
The increased revenue from the citations also allowed town officials to authorize 100 percent payment of health insurance coverage for the police chief, the mayor and their spouses, the affidavit says.
Records indicate the town paid more than $15,000 in health insurance coverage for Guidry and his spouse from August 2010 and February 2012, the affidavit says, adding that this benefit is not offered to other town employees’ spouses.
In a February interview with Guidry, investigators asked him if the officers’ time sheets reflected hours they worked on the program.
Inspector General Stephen Street Street declined to say whether additional charges could be filed against other people as a result of the ongoing investigation.