“It’s past time that we try something new”: Alexandria Councilman seeking immediate action to curb crime

District 1 Councilman Reddex Washington is asking for more cameras in violent crime hot zones, and help from the sheriff's office with patrol.
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 5:31 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2022 at 6:11 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - On Tuesday, Aug. 9, the Alexandria City Council held a public hearing to give residents a chance to voice their concerns and offer solutions to slow down the crime rate.

Since that meeting, one council member said he is tired of waiting around for ideas to turn into action and wants to see something done by the next council meeting.

District 1 Councilman Reddex Washington sent a detailed email over the weekend to Mayor Jeff Hall and the rest of the city council outlining two solutions to help curb crime in the city, writing, “it’s past time that we try something new.”

Washington suggested adding cameras in the area of Florence Ave. and Orchard St., a recent hot zone for violent crime as multiple homicides have been reported there in 2022.

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Also in the email, Washington suggested asking the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office to help a depleted Alexandria Police Department that the council announced was now 50 officers short.

News Channel 5 has reached out to Rapides Parish Sheriff Mark Wood about if sheriff deputies would be able to assist with patrol in Alexandria, but he said he has not been approached by Mayor Hall for this request.

“No one from the City of Alexandria Administration has contacted us for help in patrolling in certain areas where there is more crime,” said Sheriff Wood. “However, over the last year, we have deployed our Crime Suppression Unit along with the RADE Unit wherever the crimes are committed in the city. Our deputies work well with the APD officers and have assisted with burglaries, narcotics violations and gun crimes and will continue to enforce the law wherever the crimes are committed.”

Mayor Hall has continued to say that all zones are properly covered but added that community policing is difficult with the officer shortage.

Washington is asking to use the funds that are budgeted for those officer positions that are not being filled to contract sheriff deputies to assist in patrolling the streets.

“It’s obvious, look at where we are with our crime in Alexandria,” said Washington. “We can keep having meetings, we can keep talking about it, we can even keep coming up with plans, but if those plans are not put into place and put into action, then we will continue to see the spiraling down of this city.”

In the email, Washington asked the council and the administration to not only consider the solutions offered up but find a way to draft an ordinance to be able to place both on the next council agenda scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 23. However, when News Channel 5 received that agenda, only one of Washington’s ideas was on there. The Public Safety, Works and Transportation Committee is expected to hear from the administration on having cameras installed in the area of Orchard St. and Florence Ave. However, asking for help from the sheriff’s office for patrol was not included.

Washington told News Channel 5 that he will continue to ask for that agenda item to be added so it can be discussed as a full council at a future meeting.

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