Arnaudville 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 May 23, 2019 at 5:27 PM|
When I was elected, I presumed that I would walk into a department fully functional. Not so. There appeared to be no current standard operating procedures and no working relationships with either St. Landry or St. Martin Parish Sheriff Departments. The town-issued phone I was given was wiped clean, as well as the office computer. The so-called evidence room was not secure and records were incomplete or missing. Case files were missing, misplaced or grossly insufficient. Prosecution rates were practically non-existent due to poorly written police reports that would not hold up in court. Aside from the state of the department, much of the equipment was inadequate for proper and professional application. Uniform standards were lax; there was no requirement for wearing vests, and weapons were inconsistent. The department's vehicles and radios were not properly aligned with law enforcement standards that focus on safety for the officer and functionality and utility for the work required.
Despite these deficiencies, the men and women of our department showed enthusiasm and an overall yearning for a higher standard of professionalism. Most were eager to take on a "rebuilding" of the APD alongside me, and quite willing to conform to the new standards. We moved together in the direction of progress, with little to no promises of reward.
I get some good-natured teasing for driving that "toy" car. After all, I am the Police Chief. But, I drive that car because the best equipped units should go to the men and women who are more likely to confront danger on any given day or hour. While building up the physical aspects of our department, I was also creating and promoting a new image, instilling pride in both the men and women of the Arnaudville Police Department and the citizens of our town.
I will be presenting a budget that includes raises for my employees. I will defend it vigorously, and invite any fair-minded citizen to support my recommendations, and any council member to fully consider the ramifications for our community when staffing and salary structure decisions are based entirely on finances and old traditions and claims, and not on what is best for the citizens and those who serve them in a 21st century environment. Show me a town’s budget, and I’ll tell you what its priorities are.
Categories: The Working Chief