ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - On Thursday, News Channel 5 had the opportunity to sit down one-on-one with Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy to talk about crime in the city and the future of the Alexandria Police Department and policing in the city.
Q: "About a month or a month and a half ago, you began a very public, very vocal crusade against crime in Alexandria. What really set that off?"
Mayor Roy: "In the case of, jumping right into it, murders, where people's lives are being taken. There is a problem, not just in Alexandria, but in other cities across the nation, but this is the city that I am responsible for, that we have to address. There are things that can combat that and change what is happening there. I think for me, when you start seeing the stats rise, that was one thing that led me to a decision point that we're going to have to do something different. I think the second thing was when you start seeing 14-year-old kids involved in those and particularly the case of the young ladies who were in a fight and it led to a death. All that damage to all those families on both sides was a lot to bear."
Q: "A lot of people go and say it's not the government's responsibility essentially to do this. A lot of them say families have to step in as well. Is that some of the struggle that you are finding, that your officers are finding within the police department, that we can't do it alone?"
Mayor Roy: "There is a breakdown in families in how responsibility is allocated across many lines that we're struggling with as a society in the United States. When the child's bad behavior is championed by the parent or caregiver over the teacher's observation of the bad behavior, that's not always good. If you have abusive teachers or people within positions of trust, that is just as bad. But, you have to get that balance right. I do think the family is the issue, speaking directly to what government's role is, it is the most solemn responsibility or a mayor, a governor, a president to keep people safe."
Q: "We have had several instances, and it happens in court every day, your officers charge someone with a crime and the DA's Office pleads it down so low to where they are able to get back out on the street. Is that a roadblock? Is the judicial system a roadblock to what you are trying to do to solve the problem?"
Mayor Roy: "The problem here is you have a lot of cases, I won't get into the decision of the prosecutor's discretion of whether to do it, I will get into whether someone is out on bail and already has a bunch of predicate offenses that involve guns or serious crimes, we all need, not one person, we all need to be doing better with the exception of APD who I think is doing the right thing. We, as other decision makers, need to ensure that we are breaking that cycle. Whether it's pretrial detainee space, whether it's more vigorous vetting on the decision of whether someone poses an increased danger to be walking around, and whether it is my office and this city's responsibility to make sure there are programs in place that get to the root cause. That is part of what I bear in this. We all need to be doing that better across all agency lines."
Q: "What does your police department of the future look like?"
Mayor Roy: "I have come to believe to put the badge on and wear the gun and go out and make a traffic stop that can lead to your death is a very tough proposition. It is one that unless you do it, you can't possibly understand it. I think that we need to make sure that we have other resources available to make those guys...(former chief of police) Loren Lampert used to say, the happiest and best they can be when they go out on that job so that, he used to say, they can go home at night. That's the goal at the end of the day. I need to be better about how I can resource and make that true."