38 officers have left APD this year, 17 for other agencies

Published: Dec. 16, 2020 at 6:54 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Over the last several months, the City of Alexandria has seen a rise in crime, especially in armed robberies. Since Oct., APD has reported seven armed robberies, six of which have occurred at businesses on MacArthur Drive.

Compared to last year, the number of robberies in Alexandria has increased by 10 percent. In 2019, there were 132 total robberies and through the first 11 months of 2020, the City of Alexandria has already seen 131.

At the Oct. and Nov. State of the Community updates, Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall addressed the recent armed robberies that have occurred over the last several months.

“Bottom line is all crime happens. We don’t want it to happen. We want people to be able to talk and reason things out rather than settle things with violence but unfortunately, we can’t control that,” Mayor Hall said. “It’s not a lot that we can do to really stop a lot of it. We are aware of it but we want to make the citizens aware. This time of year, it’s just part of it. That happens all over the nation.”

The City of Alexandria told KALB that APD has been dealing with a limited staff. Last year, KALB reported that in the previous five years, 33 officers resigned from the department, 21 of which went to other departments. Nineteen of the officers stayed at the department for fewer than five years. Many cited pay as the reason for leaving.

The City of Alexandria now reports that in 2020, 38 officers have left the department, which includes a mix of those who left to go to other agencies, retired, left the academy or resigned. Out of those 38 officers, 17 of them have gone to other agencies.

APD currently has 36 vacancies for officers, one of which is the Chief of Police position.

Mayor Hall said he doesn’t suspect that the rise in crime is associated with the lower number of officers.

“We don’t think it has anything to do with the capacity of the police department. It’s just that things will happen like that,” said Mayor Hall.

Jordon Harrington, an Alexandria resident, said that there has been a lack of officers that have passed through his neighborhood in Cherokee Village despite him and his neighbors experiencing break-ins. Harrington said over the last few years, he has had a vehicle stolen from his driveway and more recently caught someone on surveillance trying to break into his vehicle before approaching his house. He added that he did not report this incident to APD.

“I didn’t file a report because technically he didn’t do anything. He didn’t get into anything,” said Harrington.

Harrington added that his neighbors are having the same issue.

“Everybody on my street at some point had either a back door kicked in, car broken in to, but it’s people wandering in the middle of the night walking through, pulling on doors and seeing what they can get,” said Harrington.

Harrington worries that unless the city gets a hold of the problem, it’s only going to get worse.

“The City of Alexandria has got to do something to re-establish a police force here and get some protection,” said Harrington.

KALB did reach out to APD Interim Chief Ronnie Howard for an interview for the story, but our calls were not returned.

Following this story being aired, KALB did an interview with Mayor Hall, who said that the City of Alexandria has hired 24 officers this year. When we received the data from the city, this information was not provided. You can watch the full interview with the mayor below:

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