Arnaundville Police Department
The Chief's Blog
The Chief's Blog
The Tide Will Turn
The Tide Will Turn
November 17, 2021
As we enter the holiday season – the season of “giving”, I reflect on the last year as your Chief. It has been a challenging year, both professionally and personally, but because I am a man of faith, I have to believe that my Maker is ultimately in control.
As a Police Chief managing a small rural department, my biggest challenge has been recruiting and retaining quality personnel. Arnaudville suffers the same fate and the same struggles as almost every other law enforcement agency in the country. We must recognize those elements that are impacting our efforts, and fight against some of the negative attitudes and perceptions we get from some of our citizens, from municipal officials, and from within our own ranks. We must acknowledge that there exists leadership that does not have the best interest of our citizens in mind; leadership that often turns its back on the brave and committed men and women who carry the badge and wear the uniform. There are invisible forces behind the scenes who would change the fundamental direction and values we have fought for for generations.
My over two decades serving in law enforcement has obviously been met with moments of challenge – Hurricane Katrina, big city crime, facing the tragedy and sorrow of fallen officers, meeting families of victims, and more – all to be anticipated as a police officer. What I never anticipated was a national movement that vilifies, disregards, dismisses and destroys the lives and livelihoods of decent, honest and hard-working law enforcement officers. A top-to-bottom movement that ultimately results in more crime, more disorder, and more chaos in communities and trauma to innocent citizens. As in every such movement, we always see a course correction, and I am optimistic that we will see the tide turn.
As I reflect on a personal level, I count the many family and friends who have been touched by a global pandemic that left us nowhere to hide and no immunity from devastating loss. My own brother succumbed to Covid-19, as did many of his fellow nursing home residents. Otherwise healthy family members, young and old did not escape the clutches of Covid. Attempting to understand the rationale for restrictions, mandates, and closures left more confusion, division and distrust. Covid took lives, but also took much more from us – our compassion, tolerance, empathy and trust. We are left as cynical, suspicious and mistrustful citizens choosing sides, and isolating and ostracizing those who dare to contradict or question.
But, as we move through all of this, we are left with our faith. Faith that tells us that while we are all on borrowed time, the best is still ahead of us. Life is constantly renewing, evolving and transforming into something better. We only need to wait, because the course will be corrected. The pendulum will swing the other way.
For those who can never see beyond their own selfishness or greed, or who fail to believe life is about giving and not taking, I have pity for them. The misery and hurt they inflict on others will come back to rest on their own souls. For the majority of us, the holiday season - the season of “giving” is but a time when our challenges, our pain and our struggles are overshadowed by the good we can do for others.
Happy Holidays, Arnaudville!
|Posted on March 16, 2014 at 3:42 PM||comments (186)|
On a recent walk, I was engaged in a discussion about domestic violence. This citizen was unhappy with the local response. Without all of the information, I could only make general statements on how, and in what way police should respond. Domestic violence in Louisiana is a huge problem, and I can only assume it even occurs in Arnaudville. I do know that there are resources available to victims, and would encourage any woman who is a victim, or feels trapped in a relationship that is abusive, to call 2-1-1 or 232-HELP for information on local programs.
Currently, there are several bills regarding Domestic Violence that have been introduced to the state legislature by Rep. Helena Moreno and Sen. J.P Morrell. (Click here to read a summary of them). It is incumbent upon every law enforcement agency to keep track of these bills, and be prepared to uphold any laws or amendments that come out of this legislative session. Here are a few:
Other bills and amendments are included in this package, and some have to do with firearms, and restriction of firearm ownership for those under protective orders. I suggest that you go to the website for more information.
|Posted on March 13, 2014 at 1:42 AM||comments (83)|
In between celebrating with family my son's 16th birthday and campaigning, I had some very interesting and encouraging conversations today, and am feeling good. If I should be fortunate enough to win this election, I will not get comfortably because I realize that there will be another one right around the corner. But, I will be ready on day one, because I am preparing now, getting ducks in a row.
While on a personal level, I had some very good news, I was disappointed about what was going on with someone I know in the law enforcement arena - a good man, put in an awkward position by his superior. That's all I can say about that.
Someone asked me today about civil liberties. I am not a lawyer, but I think I'm right on this. There is a difference between civil rights and civil liberties. The term "civil rights" refers to protections from discrimination and other forms of unequal treatment on the basis of national origin, race, gender, etc. Civil rights also include freedom from cruel or excessive force by police officers. "Civil liberties" are more about rights and freedoms that are guaranteed - speech, privacy, fair trial, vote, etc. We, as law enforcement professionals are put to the test all the time. Every interaction we have with the public can be scrutinized and therefore, must be absolutely within these laws.
A law that really relates to the employer/employee relationship is with EEOC, and employers have to be very careful about these laws, lest they get caught up in lawsuits. For instance, harassment in the workplace can take the form of many things -offensive jokes, slurs, name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule, insults or put-downs, etc. And the harasser can be the supervisor, the boss, or a co-worker. And what's more, the person filing the suit isn't always the victim, but may be the person who feels that the harassment causes a bad workplace environment. It only takes one person who is offended or feels uncomfortable because of the harassment of others to make a case.
It's not that easy being the boss, but if you make yourself familiar with all the laws, including the laws related to the workplace, and you train everyone, you (and they) will be less likely to screw up! An organization that is complacent and sloppy on this issue is only one minute away from a potential lawsuit.
|Posted on March 9, 2014 at 10:08 PM||comments (190)|
I spent about 3 hours visiting with the Arnaudville citizens today. With daylight savings time, I had an extra hour of daylight. But, at dusk, Ginger texted me, "Streetlights are coming on. It's time to come home!" So reminiscent of our house rules when I was a kid, and the rules we had for our kids. Guess that rule is multi-generational -- at least for as long as the world has street lights!
Had a couple of questions or concerns from folks. I was asked if it was legal for a cop to come into your house and search without a warrant. When a cop asks if he can come in, and you say yes, you have given permission. However, and this is important, he can only see what is visible, what he can see on the surface. He cannot dig around, going through drawers and closets. So, if you invite him in and he discovers illegal substances on your coffee table, he can seize it and arrest you. This also applies to your car -- which is an extension of your house. He can only search what is at arms length. The law is very clear and detailed. But, at the end of the day, a full and detailed report is critical.
I heard complaints about speeding on Hwy. 31. This issue is very personal to me. My grandmother, a resident of Arnaudville, was killed while walking on Hwy. 31 by a drunk driver, who was also speeding. Today, so many people have taken to walking for exercise or riding a bike. If I am elected, I will be paying close attention to the speeders, including the 18-wheelers who disregard speed limit signs.
Set some signs out today. If you are a fan of my blog or a supporter, and you would like to help by placing a sign on your property, please get in touch with me by going to the "Contact Me" page on this website.
|Posted on March 8, 2014 at 12:14 AM||comments (90)|
Hit about 7 houses today, with great conversation and insight. A couple of people were very concerned specifically about drugs, and wanted to know what I would do about the problem. First, I would acknowledge that Arnaudville PD is under-equipped and may be under-staffed at any given day, due to a chronic problem with employee retention. I would address both problems simultaneously.
Our resources are limited, and that is why it is critical that we have great working relationships with our counterparts in towns around us. While we rebuild and realign our organization, It is my intent to work hard to acquire the kind of resources we need to do our jobs properly.
Regarding the personnel, I am not saying that employees are not well intended, or that we have not had qualified personnel. But, with the large turnover, there is a tremendous amount of lost time, because there is a constant need to train and re-train, orientate, etc. This has an negative impact on the overall quality of our department, and adds to the perception that the organization is floundering, and lacks cohesiveness. It takes someone with experience to understand how to identify and utilize the strengths in each person, and identify and work in a proactive way on the weaknesses. It requires someone who knows how to recruit, how to retain quality officers, and how to build a team.
When one of the men I visited pointed out that drug dealers are brought to jail, but then let out, I cannot accurately speak on that, other than to say when reports are not well written, and evidence is not gathered that will support a well-documented police report, D.A.s are not likely to prosecute. This may be one reason the individual is set free. If elected, the first training I will impose will be report writing and proper documentation of every single stop that is made, whether a ticket is issued or not.
I welcome the questions, but more than that, I welcome the input, and will certainly welcome the eyes and ears of the public when it comes to crime in our town. Believe me, I have just as much of a vested interest in this issue as anyone -- I have a teenage son, and don't want these low-lifes anywhere near him.
|Posted on March 5, 2014 at 11:51 PM||comments (114)|
The weather was a bit better, and so I was able to go out. James and I went to J. Michael Morrow's to see Randy and received our ashes while there. I took Ginger and James to lunch today and then did some campaigning later.
This walk-about was enjoyable. I went to the houses where once members of my family lived, and of course the memories came rushing in. This continues to be the best way for people to get to know me. In small towns where most people know each other, it is important for you to establish your connection. Trust is built on what people know about you. The more they know, the more they trust. The more they know, the more they open up. People do not respond favorably to pretense or aires.
Ginger surprised me by picking up my yard signs this afternoon. I put two in our yard - and will hope they are still there tomorrow!
I went to KC's tonight. As it's newest (and may be it's youngest!) member, I so enjoyed the fellowship and the stories some of the men had about one of my uncles, clearly a prankster. When I came home and told Ginger some of his antics, she proclaimed, "He's my kinda guy!" She loves to pull pranks, too!
It's good to be home, that's all I got to say. God is good.
|Posted on March 4, 2014 at 2:07 AM||comments (201)|
Ginger gets the Ville Platte newspaper at work, and saw an article about a woman running for Chief of Police in Mamou. Katina Richard, Assistant Chief has an impressive work history. Having been with the Police Department for about 20 years, she's done it all. I'm sure that her community recognizes the skill set she has, and will support her. But, more impressive, or at least as impressive is her attitude, her philosophy, and what appears to be a deep seeded set of values.
When people read my card, or look at my website, I hope that they conclude that my values are in the right place; that regardless of the experience, the knowledge and skills, they conclude that my sense of right and wrong, my love of community, my sense of fairness and justice all come across. All of that is the underpinning of the technical skills and training. I've seen men and women in law enforcement who had all of the expertise, the skills, the credentials, but not the integrity or the values. They are the minority, but they give all cops a bad name, and tarnish the agency they work for.
I wish Assistant Katina Richard the best of luck with her campaign. She seems to be proof that small towns are able to recruit and retain the best our academies have to offer. And if I should have the honor and privilege to serve as Chief, I hope to meet her.
|Posted on March 1, 2014 at 11:42 PM||comments (97)|
Today was a beautiful day, so I started out early. I figured people will be out, it's Saturday, great day to campaign. While Ginger and James headed off to my daughter's to enjoy a day at the zoo with the grand babies, I intended to head out with my stack of cards in hand.
Things were going well, even though many people did not seem to be home. But, I walked up to a home, the young mom was sitting on her steps, talking on the phone. Her mother came out, and as I was approaching, the young mom said, "Oh, shit!" within hearing distance of me. I stopped dead in my tracks, and said, "What? Did I do something?" At this time I held my card toward her mother, and explained who I was and what I was doing. The young mother quickly apologized, and said, "No. no. You didn't do anything. I thought you were one of those Jehovah's Witnesses -- with your dark pants, and white button down shirt!" We all laughed and I told her I definitely wasn't -- in fact, I have never seen one as old as me going door to door. Now, I don't have a problem with Jehova's Witnesses -- I do have one with "mistaken identity"! Oh, the joys of the open road!
The rest of the afternoon, I couldn't help but think - all those "empty homes" I had encountered -- were people really not home, or were they peeking out from behind the curtains and blinds thinking I was a Jehovah's Witness! Too funny. Ginger suggested that I exchange the white button down "Mitt Romney" attire with a priest collar. I might have better reception. I'm not so sure about that, either.
We ended the evening enjoying our front porch view of the world, kids playing pitch and basketball, riding 4 wheelers, and with great conversation with our wonderful neighbors across the street. (Shout out to Ashley and Greg!) We have to do that more often.
I may take it easy until after the Mardi Gras holidays. I have convinced myself that today families were out enjoying the parades (and going to zoos), so I'll get back in gear on Wednesday.
|Posted on February 28, 2014 at 11:26 PM||comments (88)|
I picked up my candidate cards today. Now I have something to leave behind besides a business card with my website address on it.
Today, I finished up Custom House Rd., the street I lived on as a boy, and where I learned to ride my bike when the road was gravel. The very house I lived in is still there - where my grandfather lived. It was extra special to find someone who remembered my grandfather living in the neighborhood. Recalling when the neighborhood I now live in was all fields, I realize that there has been growth in Arnaudville. But, I remember when Arnaudville was the "hub", lively with stores, a movie theatre, and plenty of bars and entertainment! With all the roads leading into Arnaudville, there was always plenty happening.
I'll have more walking to do tomorrow, since the weather should cooperate. Ginger pointed out today that this will be the first Mardi Gras in about 10 years that I was not working the parade route in Jefferson Parish. It was always all hands on deck for the deputies -- no one was exempt. So, it is no wonder that I am not too enthused about Mardi Gras -- seen my share of parades, and all that comes with them -- drunks, fights, rowdy crowds, and an occasional shooting. Truth is that New Orleans and Jefferson Parish police are the best trained when it comes to crowd control in the United States. But, I am happy to be back to the small town life.
|Posted on February 28, 2014 at 12:55 AM||comments (1)|
My name is starting to resonate. I go into a store, and before I can introduce myself, I hear, "I've heard of you." or "So you're the man I have heard about." I am always sure to say that whether they vote for me or not, to please vote. Of course, I want their vote, but sometimes after I've said that, I feel proud to have issued the reminder. It is very sad to know that the majority of eligible voters fail to exercise that right, and then they are the first to complain when they don't like the outcome. This being a special election, the turnout will be predictably low.
This evening in the news, we are told of a 5 year old boy who was shot in Opelousas. This kind of tragedy happened every day when I was in New Orleans. I am reminded of the crime scene I worked when we found a little girl in a trash bin, who had been raped and shot, and discarded. That image will never leave me. Our society, and our communities have to eliminate these senseless acts. My interest in mentoring youth is only increased when I hear of these acts of violence. I can't help but wonder what kind of environment, what kind of childhood some of these juvenile offenders have, or are having. I wonder what difference would it had made if they had been presented with meaningful activities, like volunteering for a good cause. Or mentored or had had a positive role model to look up to.
|Posted on February 27, 2014 at 12:17 AM||comments (84)|
Today I spent time with my brother, Randy. My mother left her little Chihuahua when she passed away, and Randy took sole responsibility for the dog, caring for her, feeding and loving her. I swear, the dog almost took on his personality! So now that Randy is in the nursing home, I bring Sadie to visit from time to time. The weather kept me from my daily walk about, so I ran errands. I should have my campaign handouts and signs ready by the week-end. I'm told I may need spotters to watch for sign thefts! What a shame, if that's true.
Not to much to write about. As I sit each day on the front porch, I say my rosary. There have been two times in my life when I took to this ritual -- when my daughter was born, and was not expected to live, and when my grandbabies were born, 10 weeks premature, weighing 1 pound and 2 pounds. Now, they are doing well, but both developmentally delayed, and our little Lucas with some special problems that will require surgeries. In the whole scheme of things, being a Chief of Police seems small compared to all of the problems we confront in our lives. Guess my take on it is we are here for such a short time, and while we are here, it is our purpose to find purpose - to make a difference. It's not for glory or power. It's actually as simple as just wanting to make a difference.
Too rainy to walk, but perfect weather for reflection.