YOUNGSVILLE — The City Council agreed Thursday to add 10 police officers to the current 11 officers on staff.
Newly elected Police Chief Rickey Boudreaux showed the council research that suggests municipalities should have 2.5 officers for every 1,000 citizens. With Youngsville currently home to just fewer than 14,000 residents, that would put the suggested total at 28 officers.
“I’m not asking for 28,” Boudreaux said. “It won’t be 10 all at once. I’d like to bring four aboard, get them trained and equipped, then four more. This is not a request for more money but to replace the money that was removed by the previous administration.”
City Attorney George Knox confirmed that in the past, the tax dedicated to the Police Department had created a surplus and the administration decided the funds could be better used elsewhere.
“There is a dedicated tax specifically for police,” Knox said. “It’s not a question of whether you want to blacktop a road or give Rickey more money. There is more than enough sufficient funds to cover any and all requests. It is not coming out of the general fund.”
The cost per officer would be $39,763 per year, not including the cost of a new patrol unit per officer. Boudreaux said the cost per unit would be $23,000 for a Ford Crown Victoria sedan and $28,000 for an SUV.
“We have a depleting and deteriorating fleet of units,” Boudreaux said. “You as the council as well as the city of Youngsville deserve a department that is properly staffed. I know it’s a lot to consider, but I extend an invitation to all of you to visit the department. You’ll get to see what the officers deal with on a daily basis.”
Boudreaux said the time line for getting officers trained and ready for patrol would be two weeks for an experienced officer and 12 to 16 weeks for an inexperienced officer. He said all of the applicants thus far have more than five years’ experience.
Councilman Matt Romero, who did vote for the funding, said he has some concerns about the department’s budget.
“What is going to happen in six months with a fully staffed department?” Romero aske d. “The (surplus) figures that are out in the public are totally off.”
Romero said rumors the Police Department has a $1.5 million surplus are false; the total is closer to $900,000.
“I’m not saying use it all up,” Boudreaux said. “I am a firm believer in a rainy-day fund. Let’s just get this department where it needs to be.”