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 29, 2014 at 12:56 AM||comments (111)|
Today I had some time to do some visiting, but mostly had appointments to go to for my brother, Randy. I decided not to order any more signs, so will rely on the impact of my personal meetings with the citizens. I figure that by now, most folks who will be voting know who they will support. If it's me, I am like a bull waiting for the gates to open. Week one will be setting the stage and beginning the transition from a broken department to a standard bearer for small town police departments.
Last night, Ginger and I attended the Opelousas St. Landry Chamber of Commerce banquet. I was so impressed with the event, and one of our own, The Little Big Cup received the Entrepreneurial Excellence Award. Kevin Robin and Sanjay Maharaj have really shown what can happen when you believe in a dream and work hard. Their dream has a residual effect on the town of Arnaudville. The Little Big Cup gives us all pride; its location has revitalized the area; the quality of its food and service has attracted hundreds from around the region, state, and country. These two entrepreneurs show us all what we must do to bring Arnaudville up to a higher level. It is simple: we need to first, want improvements, and then do our part to make it happen.
When it comes to your safety and protection, and that of your family's, of your property and of your business, it is critical that you choose the person with the most qualifications and experience to serve. Being a Police Chief is not one of those OTJ (on-the-job training) options. Lives are on the line. At the end of the day, it's about protection, not popularity; it's about safety, not who you went to high school with; it's about never putting your office, department or town in positions of potential litigation, not flying by the seat of your pants, and hoping for the best.
|Posted on March 26, 2014 at 11:48 PM||comments (97)|
I call it the Territorial Waters Plan, and it extends our interaction and response beyond our city limits. St. Landry Parish is a big area. St. Martin Parish stretches out to Arnaudville, with not much in between. Technically, the Arnaudville Police Department is charged with patrolling and responding to incidents that occur within the city limits of Arnaudville. And this seems to be the current operating procedure.
The Territorial Waters Plan would/could extend the response area -- not the "patrol" area -- to cover calls within the 70512 zip code, but is contingent on the establishment of a strong working and relationship with St. Martin and St. Landry Parishes. We would make a commitment to respond, secure the scene and stabilize the situation, upon the availability of our officers while waiting for St. Martin or St. Landry officers to arrive at the scene. As a rural community, it is imperative that we take advantage of the resources and assistance Arnaudville can receive from having strong relationships and partnering with neighboring law enforcement agencies. We do have the capacity to assist them, and in turn, they certainly have the capacity to assist us.
The Territorial Waters Plan broadens our reach, but the return for doing so eliminates the "territorial" attitude and the isolation model we have been working under for the last several years.
By the way, I am so proud of Ginger for going to Baton Rouge today to champion three bills that will improve our state's domestic violence laws and extend more rights to victims. She, along with other women and United Way colleagues took the capitol by storm, and there was standing room only in the House Committee on Criminal Justice.
|Posted on March 26, 2014 at 1:50 AM||comments (85)|
I have begun my second round, knocking on doors that were closed the first time around, and still having great feedback, input, and support. Having never run for an elected position before, all is new, and all is unpredictable. We went into this venture on our own, no financial supporters, and with no big pool of volunteers. Running on a shoestring, tapping into the marketing and design talents of Ginger, the vision and message from me, and some physical assistance of my son, we use our own talents and skills, and combine that with prayer and guidance from God. Whatever the end result, I have no regrets and no obligations to anyone. There is something to be said of going it alone. No one speaks for me, and no one controls the agenda. I can sleep at night.
The neighborhoods I have been in lately have an overwhelming concern about drugs. They see deals going down, and they are tired of what they perceive is a total lack of response. If I am elected, this will become a priority and I will do what is necessary to decrease and rid Arnaudville of this growing problem. Studies have been done regarding the drug and alcohol epidemic within rural America. Small towns are seeing a rise in drug and alcohol abuse, with younger and younger children participating. Where there is an education gap, illiteracy, high unemployment, and poverty, substance abuse is a problem.
If you are one who thrives on reading studies, here's a site for you: CLICK HERE
With neighborhood watches, we can work together, and I hope we have that opportunity after April 5.
|Posted on March 24, 2014 at 1:17 AM||comments (105)|
Got some catching up to do. Friday night, the family went to Little Big Cup, then to NuNu's for some socializing and entertainment, then met with a friend before finally getting home, who reminded me that signs don't vote.
Everywhere I go, I'm getting great encouragement and support. Some of that is first hand, some second hand. I try not to get overly confident, but if I want to begin implementing some of my 10-point plan on day one, I have to start preparing. Point #1 is well underway. #6 and #8 have really caught on with the citizens -- both require some coordination and planning, so I have to act as if I'm going to win, even though I know the outcome could be different.
Saturday, James and I put up another banner. We then went to the nursing home to see my brother. While there, I spoke with other supporters. Some votes are promised from some of the residents there who knew my parents; other votes are promised from their family members.
Today, as a member of the KC's, I worked with fellow members on the bar-b-que and cake sale. Ginger baked a cake, she and James helped pack the lunches. Emily, Jeremy and the twins came to church with us and we just soaked it all in! Love having family around! This afternoon, the 3rd banner was placed.
I am two streets shy of having canvassed the entire town limits. I will go back around to catch the ones who were not home. I was encouraged as I spoke with citizens; the overwhelming sentiment is that they want someone with experience and leadership skills; a real all-round professional. When I decided to run, my instinct was just that. I based my whole campaign on what I believed the town wanted, and certainly what the town needs and deserves. I know in my core that I can deliver.
I'm looking for volunteers for election day. If anyone is interested, please get in contact with me - email me at [email protected]; or [email protected]
|Posted on March 19, 2014 at 11:35 PM||comments (4)|
|Posted on March 19, 2014 at 1:20 AM||comments (0)|
A beautiful, clear day. Perfect for taking a driving test! My 16-year old son passed with a perfect score. A milestone in his life, and now to get a part-time job!
It was a great day for meeting Arnaudville citizens. I am truly impressed with so many thoughtful people and how astute they seem to be about what they want to see in a Chief of Police. I have to conclude from the comments, questions, and suggestions that they are yearning for leadership and experience, fairness and consistency. Of course, I hear stories, rumors, and just plain venting from some frustrated folks. Police are not superhuman or perfect. Mistakes will be made, but if there is solid leadership and good principles applied, generally, the public will support its department. The Chief must be someone who does not collapse under pressure, does not shy away from controversy, and will apply the law with consistency. An effective leader will pull from each employee their best; will set high standards; and will welcome suggestions and input. It's about building a team; its about loyalty to the department; it's about respect for the citizenry.
Asked if I am elected, would I clean house - fire everyone? This is a no brainer for me. Absolutely NOT. I have managed hundreds of people, and have never fired one person. This is not to say, that some have chosen not to do the job, or not to meet the standards. When that choice is made, we part company. But, I would go in with no preconceived notions about anyone. Each employee would have a fair chance to approach their jobs in professional manners and determine whether they would want to be part of a cohesive team. My forte' is management and leadership. Team building is job one, and if Arnaudville is ready for my kind of leadership, then I'm ready to role up my sleeves.
|Posted on March 18, 2014 at 8:01 AM||comments (154)|
Luck of the Irish, to you! Today, I continued my walks, not anticipating much because of the cold weather. Global warming? Forget about it! But, many folks took pity on me, as I stood at their door, with icicles hanging from my nose -- result: they asked me to come in out of the cold to warm up. Such hospitable folks we have living here in this great community! If any of you read my blog, I thank you for your generosity!
I need to back up here, and make reference to the 7-Mile Yard Sale on Saturday. Ginger had a booth that she shared with son, James and daughter, Emily. She was selling for United Way, but Em was selling baby clothes, and James (the salesman in the family) was selling random stuff he pulled out of his room, closet, under the bed, etc. We had boxes of stuff we pulled from the attic, of which some of it he claimed for his inventory. 8-track tapes! Old VHS's -- and he made a killing, convincing shoppers that they needed what he had to sell.
Since yard sells are not my cup of tea, I opted to stroll my grandbabies around in the nice weather. Some might call this activity "campaigning". So be it. The babies did draw attention, I must admit. The "cute" factor never hurts! Ginger said I should have taken James along (all 6'3" of him) to attract the "sympathy" vote. One look at him, and folks would conclude that feeding and clothing him does require a lot of resources!
Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day, weather-wise.
|Posted on March 16, 2014 at 3:42 PM||comments (185)|
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 (113)|
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.