Mayor Tyler says “crime goes up and down in every city”. That’s not enough.
Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler’s remark at her recent mayoral re-election kickoff about crime going up and down is true. The question is if this is her justification for the seemingly daily shootings.
In a recent interview, Tyler said, “we’re going to bring crime down.” She referenced partnering with their Caddo Parish sheriff, the Caddo district attorney and Louisiana State Police. (This was her first mention of assistance from the state police.)
Tyler also said she wanted more officers patrolling the streets.
Her goal of hiring 80 new officers this year is unrealistic, if not outlandish. Funding alone is a major problem. Recruitment, screening and training are time consuming. Less than seven months remains in 2018.
Tyler has been under fire for the selection of current Shreveport Police Chief Alan Crump from day one. Crump’s job resume and testing results left much to be desired in the way of being the best qualified to succeed former Chief Willie Shaw.
Crump’s job performance as the Chief has failed to refute those that questioned his qualifications. Additionally, many question the validity of violent crime reports issued by the Shreveport Police Department (SPD).
Reluctantly, Tyler recently sought the assistance of Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator. Despite the initial positive press, no plans have been formalized.
There has been some discussion among Caddo Parish commissioners about funding Prator for in-city patrols. The earliest an ordinance can be approved is July 5.
Many causes are cited for violent crime including unemployment, domestic violence, illegal drugs, and a culture of disrespect for human lives.
One challenge is that private citizens have been reluctant to provide information to law enforcement and to testify in court. Tyler has emphasized that citizens need to work with the police to help reduce crime.
Other factors that could be part of the equation is the lack of prosecution, early release of convicted felons, and the ready availability of guns to practically anyone of any age.
Some on the force cite the increasing number of complaints filed with the Internal Affairs Bureau as a deterrent to aggressive enforcement efforts by officers.
Almost as alarming as the rate of violent crime is the low number of arrests for alleged perpetrators. The police force numbers over 525 officers. Fewer than 170 are on the streets patrolling. Other officers are assigned to investigations, narcotics, field support and administration.
Management of the SPD as well as the morale of the force is clearly a function of the Chief, his top brass and the mayor. Criticizing SPD officers on the beat is counterproductive and certainly not merited.
There are no easy answers to the public perception of any ever increasing crime wave. The only constant in the current “crime crisis” is Tyler and her hand picked police chief, Crump.
Rather than passing the buck, Tyler should get a Harry Truman “the buck stops here” desk sign. This would be much better than making trite statements about variations in crime.