Cottonport Christmas Festival still on despite safety concerns from police chief

CPD Chief says department won’t supply security for festival
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 4:41 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2022 at 9:53 PM CST
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COTTONPORT, La. (KALB) - Cottonport Mayor William “Scotty” Scott assured a crowd of residents that the town is still rolling with its Christmas Festival and parade despite the Cottonport Police Department saying that they will not be providing security for the events.

On November 28, CPD Chief Jennifer Lofton sent a letter to the mayor and council members, citing that they do not have enough staff members or police units for the Christmas on the Bayou Festival that begins with the lighting of the tree on Thursday, December 8.

Chief Lofton said her main public safety concern revolves around the Christmas Parade on the final day of the festival, which she said is supposed to close down parts of Hwy 29. She said in the letter that because of the limited staffing and equipment, she is unable to secure safety and block the highway.

At a special meeting called Wednesday to address Chief Lofton’s letter, she told the mayor and council members, “Of course, I would not like to call it off. I think it’s a good thing for Cottonport. However, I feel like it’s a gamble. I don’t have the officers. I have one unit.”

Mayor Scott said three different agencies, including the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office, law enforcement from the Raymond Laborde Correctional Center and Bunkie Police Department, have agreed to send units for the festival. He added that after years of not having the parade, they were determined to make sure that a lack of officers at Cottonport PD would not cancel it.

While the festival starts on December 8, the major events include the BBQ cookoff and firework show on the 10th followed by the parade on the 11th.

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