LA governor's office gets request for help fighting crime in Shreveport

City, parish leaders discuss crime with Caddo sheriff

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Caddo Commissioner Steven Jackson hopes technology can help cut down on Shreveport's crime.

During Monday's work session, he asked fellow commissioners to put aside $1 million for ShotSpotter, a program that uses cameras and microphones to pinpoint gunfire.

"Instead of depending on someone to call 911, it actually sends a signal to dispatch and police respond to it," Jackson explained.

ShotSpotter is a way elected officials can step up against violent crime, he added.

Jackson's action stems from the three homicides in Shreveport over the past 5 days, including one that claimed a 4-year-old's life.

"We want to make sure we are in a position to utilize technology to respond to these issues," Jackson said.

"I may not be willing to vote for $1 million," Commissioner Mario Chavez said, "but I am willing to talk about this and start the conversations."

Other commissioners agree that action must be taken against crime but are calling for more of a joint effort with other agencies.

"I think we need to be proactive right now. We need something in place. This is going to be a delay because this is not an immediate resolution. It's just something putting technology in place, but we need people in place," Commissioner Stormy Gage-Watts said.

"What I would want to do instead of ShotSpotter is to actually bring law enforcement, State Police, Caddo sheriff on board to patrol Shreveport and talk to the governor to bring in National Guard because school is gonna be out and, typically, crime goes up when schools out," Commissioner Lyndon Johnson said.

Johnson said he first looked into ShotSpotter in 2015. At that time, the city said it was too expensive.

In a 5-5 vote, commissioners voted Monday against putting Jackson's proposal on the agenda for Thursday's commission meeting.

Jackson promised that his ShotSpotter proposal is not dead.

"I will bring this ordinance back for us to consider," the official said.

"This is something our citizens want. They are tired of going to prayer rallies. They are tired of going to peace rallies. They are tired of seeing us just talking and kicking the can down the road."

Mayor Ollie Tyler declined to comment on Jackson's ShotSpotter proposal.

But she did address the uptick in crime in her city over the past few days.

The mayor said that officers are putting their lives on the line every day and that the city continues to look at ways to improve public safety.

"I do want people to know, if you are really serious, I mean truly, truly serious about helping us curb crime and to continue decreasing the crime the way we did in first four months, then let's come together, and let's get our neighborhood groups, let's get those civic groups, our faith-based groups together so we can get into those neighborhoods. And let's get these folks off the street."

Shreveport Councilman Willie Bradford also addressed the Caddo Commission on Monday to show support for the ShotSpotter proposal.

He talked about a letter he wrote to state Sen. Greg Tarver asking for Caddo sheriff's deputies and Louisiana State Police to help Shreveport police patrol the city.

"It has become obvious to many that SPD is understaffed. As my state senator, I'm asking that you contact Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator and Gov. John Bel Edwards requesting that the sheriff's patrol division and the State Police come into Shreveport and back up SPD in patrolling this city," Bradford's letter says. "Our specific need is gun violence/homicide. I suspect a lot of it is drug-related."

Tarver responded by sending a missive to Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.

"It has come to my attention that the city of Shreveport does not want to work with the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Department," Tarver's letter states. "Neither the mayor or the chief of police in Shreveport is asking for assistance to curtail the violent crime in Shreveport."

Tarver's letter also mentions that Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator will meet with Caddo commissioners and Shreveport City Council members at 1 p.m. Wednesday in his office to discuss recent gun violence in Shreveport.

On Tuesday, the governor's office confirmed that it received a letter from Tarver late that afternoon.

"Col. Kevin Reeves, of the Louisiana State Police, has been made aware of the requests. And they will work with Sen. Tarver and the local officials to determine how they can be helpful."

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