State Police Begin Investigation Into Youngsville Police Department
Louisiana State Police has started an investigation into the Youngsville Police Department, nearly two months after a former officer accused the department of mishandling officers' pay and evidence.
State police Troop I spokesperson Brooks David said they "received a request to look into allegations made against the Youngsville Police Department. As of right now, no other information is available."
At the June 12 meeting of the Youngsville City Council, former officer Christopher Navarre informed council members of inconsistencies with the department, including with the way it handles officers' supplemental pay from the state.
He and at least two other officers had problems receiving that pay; Navarre said he was offered repeated assurances that the matter would be handled in a timely manner, but several months elapsed with no action.
"I really wanted to speak and stress this to the Council and the citizens because there's multiple problems here at this agency and y'all are going to continue to lose good officers because of them," a transcript of that meeting quotes Navarre as saying. "A lot of these officers are scared to speak because of fear of retaliation."
"I'm their voice," Navarre added.
Navarre said dealing without the $500 in supplemental pay nearly cost him his house, and it was for that reason he resigned from the department.
A second person, Leonard Verni, who at the time was an active officer with the department, spoke up with similar concerns about supplemental pay and indicated he would "probably get fired as a result [of his comments] but that's okay." Verni was terminated from the department on an unrelated matter just days after that meeting, multiple sources told KPEL.
Navarre said evidence is processed "wrong," and he feared being called back and "possibly punished in some way for something not being done right, when all I did was sign as an observing officer when the evidence was processed."
"I am sounding the alarm, there is a problem," Navarre said.
KPEL reached out to Youngsville Mayor Wilson Viator for comment on this story, but as of early Tuesday afternoon, our phone calls have not been returned. We will update this story with his comments once we receive them.
Several other city officials declined to comment on the record.