The Caddo Commission can take a giant step in resolving continual complaints about the operations of the Caddo Parish Animal Shelter (CPAS) by voting to upgrade its camera system at the shelter at its next regular meeting on Thursday, May 4. The resolution offered by Commissioner Chavez authorizes the expenditure of $25,000 (maximum) to bring the camera system up to the standards of other Caddo Parish facilities.
At this juncture, it is unknown if the resolution will pass; several Commissioners have questioned this expense even though they voted an additional $30,000 for summer jobs at their last meeting on April 20. Earlier this year almost $12,000 was expended by 3 Commissioners and the Parish Administrator to attend the Washington Mardi Gras. And just last year The Commission paid a $50,000 sponsorship to the Independence Bowl that provided 2 "free" tickets for Commissioners and staff members to the Sky Box for the game festivities.
Presently, the CPAS cameras do not provide full coverage of all the shelter areas nor complete monitoring of all the employees at the shelter. Additionally the camera system only retains the video memory for 3 days; all other Commission camera systems have video storage for at least 30 days. When questioned at the last Commission meeting, the Parish’s video technician admitted that the camera system at CPAS "could use some love."
An upgraded camera system has obvious benefits for the Commission. The first is provide additional transparency of shelter operations that can be used to dispel any unfounded rumors of animal abuse or other improper procedures by innocent shelter employees. Conversely, additional transparency should discourage improper employee behavior at the shelter and provide evidence of any non-compliance with shelter procedures. Seemingly, an updated camera system, with a 60 day memory, would be a "win win" for all concerned, including the Parish Administration and the Commissioners.
The animal shelter is a constant source of citizens complaints, and the operations of this facility have become a thorn in the flesh for the Commissioners as well as the Parish Administration. Seemingly this vote should be a slam dunk; however some Commissioners seemingly are opposed to additional expenses at the shelter and/or more cameras. Hopefully these concerns will be resolved before the upcoming vote.