Vinton council supports changing the way police officer discipline is handled

Published 11:22 am Saturday, April 23, 2022

Vinton Town Council members Diane Conner, Lindsay Stanley and Michael Wright; Mayor Marcus Renfrow and Chief of Police Scott Spell revisited a resolution to support a Louisiana Revised State Statute on Tuesday at the monthly town council meeting.

The statute, authored by Mike Reese, Louisiana Senate District 30, provides for powers of the Vinton Police Chief. Other police department matters were also decided.

As the statue currently reads, Vinton’s police chief would have to convene a special meeting or wait for a city council meeting before disciplining an officer for anything.

“It could be something as simple as tardiness,” Spell said. “This change would allow me to take care of those issues in house without having to convene for everything. It still leaves the power of termination to the council and any disciplinary decision could be appealed.”

Support was unanimous. William “B.B.” Lloyd and Stephanie Hardy were absent.

Robert Tibbitts was appointed as police department chaplain and Chris Vice will now, in addition to being Vinton Fire Chief,  be considered a Vinton Police Department reserve officer.

Tibbitts has helped the police department for quite some time, according to Spell.

“He comes when we need him,” Spell said. “He comes to the hospital. He will continue to be an unpaid volunteer acting in the more official capacity as chaplain. Chief Vice will be able to carry a firearm while he is engaged in ordinance enforcement. He’ll be able to issue citations and appear in court as a policeman.”

Both men have taken the same medical, psychological and background checks as the other Vinton officers.

Fees for Vinton Police Department printed and recorded records will increase.

The council continues to meet at the Ward 7 Recreation Center.

The city hall was flooded earlier in the year.

Renfrow announced that the lowbid from Gunter Construction was recommended by Curtis Vincent, and the council approved accepting the $305,000 bid to tear out sheetrock at the bottom two-feet of walls and install and paint new sheetrock.

Flooring will also be replaced.