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Alexandria Police Department hosts community safety meeting

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 6:17 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 19, 2021 at 11:17 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The Alexandria Police Department hosted a community meeting to address public safety concerns, as well as the rise in crime in the Garden District, on Tuesday, October 19.

Dozens of residents and property owners in the Garden District showed up at the meeting. Those that spoke had a chance to raise their concerns about crime to the members of the Alexandria Police Department, including Police Chief Ronney Howard.

Multiple Alexandria City Council members were in attendance, but Mayor Jeff Hall was not.

“I’m absolutely disappointed that he wasn’t here,” said Tom Spencer, the President of the Alexandria Garden District Foundation. “Clearly, he’s a player in this and he needs to be involved. We can’t do it ourselves as residents, the police department can’t do it by themselves, and certainly, the administration and city council can’t either. We need to all sit at the table and work towards solutions.”

From questions about break-ins to staffing issues at the department, to crime prevention, all topics were covered. One main topic brought up at the meeting was the difficulty that the public has in getting basic information about crime in their neighborhood.

The current crime reporting policy in the city is that APD must send information to the mayor, who then decides what information will be released.

“The bigger question is why isn’t it being released? One of two things is happening and citizens said it today, either you don’t know what’s going on, or you’re covering something up,” said District 4 City Councilor Catherine Davidson. “If you’re not covering something up then we have a leadership problem and an authenticity problem and an accountability problem. It appeared tonight, it appears to me that the police chief’s hands are tied.”

Chief Howard said the issues residents are having with the administration’s crime information policy will soon be addressed.

“We go through the necessary channels implemented by the new policy, but we are going to be readdressing that and were going to see if we can make some changes in that, where the information will be readily available to the community,” said Chief Howard.

APD and community members said they are willing to hold more of these community meetings in the future.

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