Ever had a dinner party and the guest of honor was a no show?
If so, you can share the sentiments of dozen or so public officials who wanted to discuss Commission funding of sheriff patrols in the city limits.
Nine of the twelve Commissioners, Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator and his top two deputies, a representative of the Shreveport Marshal’s office and numerous Commission officials recently met to discuss a recommendation to the full commission for a July 5 vote.
This meeting was a follow up to a “crime summit” meeting held by Prator that was attended by Shreveport mayor Ollie Tyler, her police chief Alan Crump, Caddo Commissioners Mike Middleton and Louis Johnson, Shreveport Police Department (SPD) Chief and Caddo Councilmen Jerry Bowman and Willie Bradford.
Several Commissioners were on board with the idea of funding up to $125 grand to Prator to help reduce Shreveport’s spiraling crime rate.
Prator had quoted an estimate for $33 thousand a month for overtime to take over patrols in city areas adjacent to the parish line. This plan would allow Crump to put more boots on the ground in high crime areas.
On June 6, Commissioner Mario Chavez emailed Crump about the meeting. The email subject block was “SPD/Sheriff patrolling”.
“Chief Crump, we are discussing the funding of this operation tomorrow @ our Commission Long Range planning meeting @ 1400. I would like to invite you to get your opinion on this matter….I would appreciate your presence or a representative to attend our meeting to help us understand the SPD stance on this idea….”
Later that day Crump emailed Chavez. “Hello Commissioner Chavez, I am in receipt of your email and I would like to say that I appreciate any help an law enforcement agency can give us within the city limits Shreveport, thanks.” Crump copied Ollie Tyler, Brian Crawford, William Bradford, and William Goodin.
The committee meeting started at 2 p.m. and ended at 3 p.m. The Shreveport Police Department did not have anyone in attendance.
Goodin arrived ten minutes after the meeting adjourned.
Later Goodin advised the media that Crump as out of town and that Crump informed Chavez he could not attend the meeting.
Chavez denies any communication by Crump other than the email.
At the Council work session on Monday Tyler lamely attempted to defend the no show by the SPD.
Tyler said several times that she did not ask the Commission for funding. And she made vague references to funding that she was going to re-allocate for the additional crime fighting efforts.
“When they called the meeting for people to show up, we didn’t know they were calling a meeting to develop a plan. The plan has already (been made), we made it.” She did not explain why no one from her administration attended.
Tyler’s explanation was lame at best. Chavez’ email clearly stated that funding, not a plan, was to be the subject of discussion. The actions/inaction of Crump and Tyler clearly sent a message that the assistance of Prater is unwanted.
What Tyler, Crump and the commission do next on the issue of funding sheriff’s patrols in the city is an open question. Tyler has reluctantly admitted that she should have had someone at the meeting.
The Tyler administration’s words about crime (“no worries, crime is trending down”) don’t match the public’s perceptions about crime (“eeck, so much crime!”). And the administration’s actions – failing to seriously acknowledge or even show up for a meeting with the sheriff and commissioners – certainly don’t match the public’s expectations.
Despite managing city operations competency in most areas, Tyler obviously has a blind spot on crime. If she and her police chief don’t ramp up their performance, a concerned public may send her to the house in the November election.
published in The Shreveport Times