Alexandria mayor in D.C. meeting with Biden, other mayors to address public safety

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 7:25 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The million dollar question for leadership across the country seems to be what is the fastest and most effective way to hire more qualified officers to replenish depleted police departments?

Mayors across the country, including Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy, are in Washington, D.C. this week for the Conference of Mayors to find answers to the question. However, Mayor Roy said the answer may not be so simple.

At a meeting held by Charles Ramsey, the former Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department, he shared with the city leaders that the hard reality is that they will likely never get back to normal employee levels at the police department. Mayor Roy shared that what he learned is that officers are being required to do more than just public safety, adding that the true focus needs to be put towards delivering social services better including working with the civil service and leadership at APD.

The mayor added that while addressing officer vacancies is the top priority and was part of his 100-day plan when elected, he doesn’t want to just hire anyone that’s not qualified or trained for the force.

“Don’t hire down,” said Mayor Roy about what the message was from Ramsey. “Do not, whatever you do in this period, think just because you’re so focused on getting numbers that you need to make your hiring practices as such that you’re not going to get good officers.”

The trip for Mayor Roy will also include working to secure more funds through the American Rescue Plan Act. Currently, the City of Alexandria has over $5 million from ARPA that has not been allocated yet. That money can be used on a variety of projects, including public safety and updated equipment for APD.

The mayor said the goal is to be able to secure the funds for one-time spending projects. The ARPA funds would not be used for salaries, including police salaries, since the city would not receive these funds on a yearly basis.

Mayor Roy will conclude his trip to the nation’s capitol with a trip to the White House on Friday, Jan. 20.

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