Police Chief Outlines 90-Day Plan to Jump-Start Central Police Dept.

Police Chief Outlines 90-Day Plan to Jump-Start Central Police Dept.

New Central Police Chief James Salsbury believes he can do something that has never been done anywhere — create a working police department, using volunteer officers, much like a volunteer fire department operates.

Since the City of Central was incorporated in 2005, the Central Police Department has operated with an elected Chief of Police, as required by state law, and volunteer, unpaid police officers.  All of them have long years of experience in law enforcement and are fully qualified.

“We have a good foundation,” Salsbury said. “Now it’s time to do more for our citizens.”

“What we can do with the police department is much like what Central has done with privatization of city services.  With reserve officers donating at least 25 hours a month, we will be able to maintain regular shifts and have a working police department.”

After his election, Salsbury learned that if he collected his $25,000 salary as police chief, he would lose his retirement benefits from Baton Rouge City Police.  State law says he cannot earn more than $100 a month. So Salsbury had the outgoing City Council reduce his salary to $99 a month.

Now he plans to ask the new Council to take that $24,000 a year savings and supplement it with about $70,000 in city funds to help jump-start the police department and carry it to a higher level.  Chief Salsbury hopes to introduce an ordinance at the first meeting of the new

Council on July 8 to implement his plan.  The Council could vote on the plan at the July 22 meeting.

The chief said within 90 days he can make the Central Police Department more visible and active in reducing crime and alleviating traffic problems.

He said burglaries are a serious problem in Central, and he wants to increase patrols in neighborhoods to increase police visibility, which is a key deterrent. He also wants to work traffic accidents in Central to provide faster response time and thus keep traffic moving.

Salsbury’s first goal is to move the department to larger facilities.  It is currently located in about 1,100 square feet next to Central City Hall in the shopping center at 13421 Hooper Road.  Salsbury wants to move next door to a larger space that would give the department 2,600 square feet. “This would be an easy move.  It would provide us with two baths instead of one, a kitchen, and enough space to hunker down in case of an emergency,” he said.

“We need to add more volunteer personnel but we can’t do it with the space we currently have.”

The department has nine reserve officers and two more will be added soon, he said.  “All our officers are experienced.  Most are retired law enforcement officers and a few are long-time reserve officers.  Now we need to add younger reserve officers in their 30’s to work the streets.”

Salsbury hopes to nget Council approval to add a paid assistant chief.  He wants to hire Steve Wallace, who has 30 years with the Sheriff’s office.  “He will be a great asset to us in training officers and we would share responsibility for supervising the department days, nights, and weekends. He is waiting to see if the Council approves this before deciding whether to retire.”

The funding request would also allow the purchase of new uniforms, outer bullet-proof vests, and a mobile command post.


Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

Comments are closed.