Police chief reacts to union criticism

By Fred Childers - email | bio

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -  A few weeks ago, Police Union President, Michael Carter announced the release of a Youtube video called Priority One. "We are constantly getting lower and lower manpower," declared Carter. The union claims a loss of about seventy officers over the past couple of years, Police Chief Henry Whitehorn has different numbers. "We look at the net loss, we have to look at how many actually left, and how many we've hired, that's 14," says Chief Whitehorn.
     The union says the reason for the officers leaving in part is low pay and low morale. "We have some concerns about morale, I have some concerns about morale ," admits Chief Whitehorn. As for pay; Police officers got a parity raise back in April, but even Whitehorn agrees that's not enough. "That was simply to get us on equal footing to try to retain some of the personnel we have," says Whitehorn. He would like to see the starting salary go from 33 thousand to 35, and he's talked about it with city leaders. "At this time we're trying to determine a source of funding for it," says Whitehorn.
    City Councilman Bryan Wooley shoots even higher. "I'd like to see us hit the 40 plus mark," says Wooley. Everybody agrees that the men and women of the SPD deserve a pay raise, a significant pay raise," says Whitehorn. Even a modest increase would cost about five million dollars, for the chief and many city leaders, the issue is not whether officers deserve it, it's where does it come from.