Broussard cop loses appeal following suspension for mishandled crack cocaine seizure and body camera failure

BROUSSARD, La. (KLFY) — The Broussard municipal fire and police board confirmed the decision to suspend a Broussard police officer for 30 days.

Corporal James Bell’s appeal hearing was held on Monday.

In September 2021, Bell was found to have violated department policy and procedures regarding body cameras and, in addition, a paramedic testified in court that he had informed Corporal Bell of the alleged presence of narcotics found on the conductor.

Here is the sound of the body camera before it turns off:

“I found a bag of crack rocks. And now I found a bag of crack rocks,” we heard.

Broussard Police Chief Vance Olivier testified that Bell’s actions following this traffic stop were improper.

“There were so many steps he could have taken that he didn’t. Any policeman with years of experience should have known better,” Olivier testified.

Olivier said Bell remains employed with the Broussard Police Department.

“We just want to hold our officers accountable and make sure they’re doing a good job. We ensure that the public receives professional police services. That’s the checks and balances part of making sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to do,” the chef explained.

Corporal Bell said he normally drives a police unit where the body camera is automatic. On the day in question, Bell explained that he had a body camera that he had to manually turn on and off.

He added that working in a stressful situation can sometimes impact a person’s reaction.

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