- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

SORRENTO, La. (AP) - Fern Barnett, a great-grandmother and former longtime town police clerk, is the last candidate standing in the race to be Sorrento’s next chief of police.

The Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office said Jerry P. LeBlanc, one of three candidates vying to fill the unexpired term of former Police Chief Earl Theriot Jr., withdrew Thursday from the Nov. 4 election.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1seVFXx ) another chief’s candidate, C.J. Martin, withdrew in late August for unspecified personal reasons.

Meg Casper, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Tom Schedler, said Tuesday the office has already filed papers to commission Barnett as chief.

Theriot, whose term ends June 30, 2017, resigned in February as part of a plea agreement for lying to an FBI agent over inappropriate sexual contact with a heavily intoxicated woman he gave a ride to while he was on duty. He was sentenced to 24 months’ probation and fined $2,500.

It was not clear Tuesday if and when Barnett could be sworn in. Barnett doesn’t even have her sidearm.

“Not yet, but my grandson said he’d buy me one . and I can shoot it,” Barnett said with laugh.

Barnett said she has no plans of withdrawing from the race, but her path to the chief’s post comes as voters in Sorrento remain set to consider whether to abolish the Police Department and Barnett’s new position as chief in the Nov. 4 election.

Barnett said Tuesday she will keep politicking voters to keep the department and not hand over police protection to the parish Sheriff’s Office.

Barnett said if voters do reject the department and chief’s position, she would have to give some thought to resigning, a move that would immediately abolish the chief’s post.

“I don’t like to say never because you never what’s going to happen,” Barnett said.

“It be kind of silly to collect the pay for three years to do nothing,” she added.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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