Depending on who one talks to, there was either a big mix up on a meeting date or a deliberate stand up by Shreveport Police Chief with a citizens crime committee at Crump’s office on Tuesday, June 6. Former Caddo Police Juror David Wyndon and NAACP president Lloyd Thompson headed up a committee that included Tom Pace, Anita Steele, Reverend Mays, Marion Marks, and Bob Brown among others who wanted to meet with Chief Crump to discuss many issues of concern dealing with Shreveport crime.
Wyndon insists that the meeting had been set for weeks; when the group arrived, Crump’s secretary said she had made a scheduling mistake. The committee waited over an hour for an opportunity to speak to Crump. He never appeared, not even to apologize for any mistake or explain why he could not meet with the group or to offer to reschedule the meeting. Crump had been invited many times to appear to a weekly lunch meeting of concerned citizens although he never made a luncheon; the proposed meeting at his office was an attempt to accommodate his schedule.
Needless to say those that met at Crump’s office were disappointed to say the least; several of the group were insulted. They viewed the actions/inaction of Crump to be a continuation of what they believe to be unresponsive, insensitive and unprofessional leadership of the Shreveport Police Department by Chief Crump and his staff. The committee will most likely address their concerns to the Shreveport City Council and request that Chief Crump be directed to answer a list of questions. And to make matters more heated, Crump is calling out members of the group and denying any meeting was ever set on his calendar.
To date Mayor Tyler and her administration have dodged hard questions about Shreveport’s crime rate. Tyler frequently refers to secret police operations and the fact that 2017 crime is below the historic highs; she has admitted that crime is on an uptick from 2016. Both Tyler and Chief Administrative Officer Brian Crawford have repeatedly danced around questions concerning the actual number of police officers on the payroll as compared to the authorized number of officers and the relationship of the officer shortage and crime, especially shootings. Reportedly Tyler will not allow Crump to take any questions or to speak to the media outside her presence.
Some of the group’s questions deal with the existence of gangs in Cedar Grove and Queensborough and what steps if any had been implement to deal with this troublesome development, which has been confirmed by at least one member of the committee. Another high profile concern is that of the random shootings, especially at night that, seemingly occur 2 to 3 times a week, and the fear of many citizens to go outside their residences after nightfall. And some of the committee believe that police officers do not compassionately treat family members of persons shot/killed appropriately at crime scenes when emotions are high.
How all this shakes out is a story yet to be told, but it certainly is another indication that the average Joe on the street is most concerned with Shreveport’s crime and the constant shootings. Tyler usually redirects any negative remarks by pointing to what she hopes will be her legacy markers—paving streets financed by bonds passed during the Glover years, the aquarium which is to open in August, and the proposed sports arena. This citizen group is to be commended for taking the initiative to have Chief Crump address issues that need answers; hopefully their efforts will force Crump and Tyler to be truly responsive. With Tyler’s intentions on whether to seek a second term as mayor next year up in the air, her hand-picked police chief and his performance could well be the litmus test for her political decision.