Recently there has been a good deal of attention focused on the City of Youngsville. This hamlet, located in the southern portion of Lafayette Parish, for several years has proudly boasted the slogan of “Where Life is Sweeter.” But for many, the entangling alliances and downright corruption has soured that sweet taste. Now, many are demanding accountability and transparency prompting a special Council Meeting to consider an “independent internal investigation” into the Youngsville Chief of Police, Rickey Boudreaux.
INDEPENDENT “INTERNAL” INVESTIGATION?
A special meeting has been called of the Youngsville City Council for Thursday, March 30, 2023. According to the Meeting Agenda a resolution will be considered authorizing and directing the Mayor to “secure an independent investigation of the Youngsville Police Chief.” However, the language of the resolution reads slightly different requesting the Mayor to “invoke and secure an independent internal investigation.” How exactly can an “internal” investigation be independent? I guess you will have to attend the meeting to find out.
The call for an independent investigation comes four months after the November 12, 2022 crash involving Councilman Kayla Reaux. Despite many allegations of preferential treatment and ticket fixing schemes over the years, the public outcry has only come following the recent release of the body camera footage of the officers responding to the crash.
WHO IS BEST SUITED TO HANDLE THE INVESTIGATION?
The resolution as it is presently worded doesn’t delineate who will handle the investigation. While the likely candidates are the Louisiana State Police or the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Mayor at this juncture is being given broad discretion. But the language also calls for an “internal” investigation, which wreaks of being anything but independent.
There are several entanglements with the City of Youngsville which make an internal investigation an absurd idea. The son of Chief Rickey Boudreaux, Landon Boudreaux, presently serves as an Assistant to the Mayor. While the Mayor also employs the sister of councilman Reaux, Dawn Durke. Then to top it off the City of Youngsville employs and Chief Rickey Boudreaux supervises Earl Menard, the father of Reaux, and Clay Durke, the son of Dawn Durke and nephew of Reaux.
Whether the State Police, who has experienced a backlog of investigation requests by outside agencies, will even be able to complete the task in a timely manner is something to consider. Also, it is questionable whether the Lafayette Parish Sheriff Office, the former employer of Chief Boudreaux, has impartial staff capable of completing such an investigation. In fact, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office has failed to act on other accusations of ‘ticket fixing’ schemes involving Boudreaux.
DID THE LAFAYETTE SHERIFF’S OFFICE INVESTIGATE A YOUNGSVILLE OFFICER IN RETALIATION?
Of particular interest is an investigation launched into Youngsville Police Officer Brian Baumgardner in June of 2021. According to the file, the matter was investigated by the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office. The allegations lodged against Baumgardner were that “improper files” were located on his department laptop and that he “may have taken actions which undermine the Chief, and/or the administration of the Youngsville Police Department.”
What exactly did Baumgardner do to “undermine the Chief”? According to the investigative file there was “an allegation pertaining to persons going to the La. State Police and DA’s office in an attempt to launch an investigation into Chief Boudreaux and/or his administration, regarding ticket fixing.”
Not only was there an allegation of “ticket fixing” against Boudreaux at this time, but Boudreaux sought to have the officer investigated for alleged whistleblower activities under the pretext of ‘undermining’ his authority. While these allegations were known to the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, there is no documentation in the investigative file that any action was taken.
“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!” If this “independent (internal) investigation” includes connections to the same sordid characters then perhaps we should focus less on the web and more on eradicating the spider that spun it.