Mamou police chief presents new policy
The Mamou Town Council met Wednesday to discuss proper police use-of-force, the future of food booth vendors at Mardi Gras, and local collection of sales taxes.
Police Chief Brent Zackery presented policy on the use of force for police officers. “The use-of-force policy is just basically, any officer I hire here understands human life is very valuable,” said Zackery. “We’re not going to tolerate any misconduct. I expect them to go out there and talk with the public.” He said he showed his officers different techniques and urged talking to people instead of putting their hands on them. “That’s the last thing you want to have to do. Depending on how bad the scene is, sometimes you have to put your hands on them.”
The purpose of the policy is to provide officers with guidelines on the reasonable use of force. The policy states, “Officers with the authority to use reasonable force and protect the public welfare requires a careful balancing of human interests.” The policy lists certain factors to determine whether or not to apply any level of force. These factors include, but are not limited to: the conduct of the individual being confronted (as reasonably perceived by the officer at the time); officer/subjects factors (age, size, relative strength, skill level, injury/exhaustion and number of officers vs. subjects).
For the past few years, it was only non-profit organizations allowed to have food booths at Mardi Gras. According to the council, the number of non-profit participants have dwindled, and those who do participate do not last the whole weekend, either because they run out of food or not enough volunteers show up to keep the booth going for the run of Mardi Gras festivities. The council agreed to propose an ordinance which would allow anyone to operate a booth, given they pay the required fee to operate during the festival. Vendors may be from anywhere, not just Mamou.
In other business, the council voted to keep local collection of sales taxes locally instead of having them sent to the state for disbursement. The state of Louisiana, in the 2019 legislative session, proposed removing the authority of local governments to administer and collect local sales and use taxes. The purpose is to allow the legislature to transfer collection responsibility of all local sales and use tax levies to the State Department of Revenue or some other entity.
The Mamou council believes it possesses the best knowledge and experience to properly collect their own taxes and say they have “a proven record of proactive advancements in the areas of enforcement, audit coverage, dispute resolution, reporting technology, and successful litigation,” according to a resolution in opposition of the proposed legislation.