APSO forced to borrow thousands of dollars again

APSO Budget problems
(Source: http://jpron.com/default.aspx)
(Source: http://jpron.com/default.aspx)

ALLEN PARISH, LA (KPLC) - For the past several years, the Allen Parish Sheriff's Office has borrowed money to fulfill their budget. They'll have to borrow again this year. But newly elected sheriff, Douglas Hebert III is already taking steps to make sure this isn't something the agency continues to deal with.

"Starting three years ago, the Allen Parish Sheriff's Office made an application to the bonding commission to borrow money for general expenses and payroll, starting with 400,000 the first year, 800,000 the second year, and 600,000 last year," said Hebert.

And this year makes number four. The Sheriff's Office developed a plan in the last few weeks to submit to the bonding commission for approval.

"We feel like we've submitted a good plan," said Hebert. "We certainly feel like it would be unfair to judge us or penalize us for the past. I've not made an application before. The department I run has, but I haven't."

Hebert already cut benefits across the board, including to himself.

"I just decided that I'm going to roll my sleeves up, and we're going to make it happen, somehow, some way," said Hebert. "There is always a way. It's a lot easier to get it done than standing around complaining about it."

Despite the budget issues, Sheriff Hebert says there are things here in Allen Parish that have to be done to ensure the safety of the citizens, like a new jail. The Sheriff's Office has been trying to replace the current jail for over ten years. Sheriff Hebert is ready to do something and he wants to do something soon. But he wants to make sure it's done the right way.

"We're not going another two years and saying well I got to do this, I got to do that, because that's another one of those services that impacts the safety of Allen Parish," said Hebert. "It has to be done, and it has to be done now. It's been a decade. That's far long enough. We're going to get it done."

The 911 system also needs to be replaced.

"That system is such that we are no longer able to get a maintenance contract on it, and we're on borrowed time," said Hebert. "We have to replace it, it's an absolute. The people of Allen Parish are going to be able to call 911 and have somebody come. That's going to happen."

But Hebert says despite money problems, their jobs are still being done.

"We need to be out there, and we're going to be out there protecting the public, but at the same time we have to use a little bit more judgment about how we do it," said Hebert.

We did reach out to former sheriff Harold Brady. He couldn't talk on camera today, but he said "I left him with money. I didn't leave him broke like sheriffs in the past have done."

The bonding commission meets Thursday and will decide whether or not to give the sheriff's office the money they are requesting.

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