HESSMER, La. – Don't bother calling the police if you need help.
A plywood sign in front of the police department reads, "Village of Hessmer: the only police car is broken. If you need assistance contact the mayor and council."
Police Chief Mack Villemarette says he has struggled to get help from the city council or mayor after one of the force's two cars was wrecked in May. The other broke down Sunday.
Insurance paid about $10,000 to fix or replace the wrecked car, but nothing has been done, he said. And with the second car out of service, the police cannot work.
Still, he says about the sign, "It's not a protest."
It was simply time people realized what is happening in this village of 650, Villemarette told the Alexandria Daily Town Talk newspaper on Wednesday.
"According to the law, I can't answer a call using my personal vehicle so the sheriff's office is handling our calls," he said.
Mayor Lynn Bordelon said he could not understand why the chief did not just call him, instead of putting up a sign.
"If he would have called me, I would have tried to find some help immediately," Bordelon said. He said a fire rescue car probably can be used until the broken car is repaired.