Six Departments in Four Years: South Louisiana Officer’s Controversial Career Sparks Lawsuit and Calls for Reform
According to a report from KLFY News 10, Sam Tezeno, a south Louisiana police officer with a history of employment at multiple law enforcement agencies across Acadiana, now finds himself in the middle of controversy and legal battles. Over the past four years, Tezeno has been affiliated with six different police departments, including the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office and police departments in Crowley, Opelousas, Church Point, St. Martinville, and Grand Coteau. According to the News 10 report, Tezeno was dismissed from three of these departments.
The issue came to light when Tezeno was placed on administrative leave following his termination from the Grand Coteau Police Department, leading him to initiate a lawsuit against the department. His career, spanning since 2019, has been marked by a series of problematic incidents and swift departmental changes.
Speaking with News 10 reporter Britt Lofaso, St. Martinville Police Chief Ricky Martin highlighted the troubling pattern of “department hopping” exhibited by Tezeno. Hired in early 2021 as a provisional patrol officer, Tezeno’s tenure at St. Martinville was short-lived due to a series of incidents, including a complaint about reckless driving and the unauthorized use of an unmarked police car to attend a Mardi Gras parade. These actions led to his eventual dismissal from the department.
Chief Martin expressed his concerns about the broader implications of such conduct in law enforcement, emphasizing the importance of accountability. He pointed out the alarming nature of Tezeno’s ability to secure positions in multiple departments despite a record of terminations, raising questions about the standards and vetting processes within law enforcement agencies.
Another critical issue is Tezeno’s lack of POST certification, despite his extensive involvement in law enforcement. This raises concerns about the potential violation of civil rights and the liability of departments employing inadequately trained officers.
As Tezeno awaits the proceedings of his lawsuit against the Grand Coteau Police Department, Chief Martin advocates for increased accountability and thorough vetting in law enforcement hiring practices. Tezeno's legal team is preparing to file a lawsuit in Lafayette federal court, claiming his dismissal from Grand Coteau was due to harassment following his role as a whistleblower for the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Read the full story here via KLFY News 10.