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Alexandria City Council votes in favor of investigating Hall administration’s handling of public info on APD

The special meeting vote comes after Mayor Hall held his own briefing on the police department
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 3:56 PM CDT|Updated: May. 12, 2022 at 6:35 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The Alexandria City Council held a special meeting regarding an investigation into the Alexandria Police Department Thursday night, which was called together by Council President Catherine Davidson.

The council voted 4-1 at the meeting in favor of investigating Mayor Jeff Hall’s administration’s handling of public information as it relates to APD.

Council members Catherine Davidson, Gerber Porter, Reddex Washington and Cynthia Perry voted in favor. Councilmember Chuck Fowler voted against. Lee Rubin and Jim Villard were not present.

This comes after the mayor said earlier in the day that an official vote to hold an “unprecedented investigation” surrounding APD has not happened. Following the council’s meeting, Mayor Hall released the following response:

“We are disappointed the City Council has elected to conduct an unprecedented investigation into the work of the brave men and women of the Alexandria Police Department. Chief Howard and his staff have responded to every question the council members have asked, providing data directly from the Computer Assisted Dispatch system. We have shared the information with the local media and met with them today to ensure they have the facts. Frankly, we don’t see the need for an investigation as the information the council has requested has been provided to them already as well as to the media to share with the public. However, it is their right under the City Charter to investigate the affairs of any City department. As such, APD and my staff will cooperate fully. I do regret that they have chosen to subject the outstanding men and women of APD to this needless process.”

Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall

Earlier in the day before the special meeting was held, Mayor Hall held his own invite-only briefing at APD.

In that meeting, Mayor Hall, Chief Ronney Howard, and other members of APD created a presentation regarding crime trends, zones being covered, and confidentiality.

According to stats provided by APD, burglaries, thefts, and firearm discharges are down this year. However, it is important to note that these stats only reflect the first quarter of each year dating back to 2018.

Chief Howard also assured again that every zone in the city is covered by a patrol officer every day, adding that it is mathematically possible and a reality for every zone to be covered. He did note that due to COVID-19 and police shortages in recent years, officers have had to overlap shifts and work extra hours to make sure that the zones are covered.

With this information, Mayor Hall shared that APD will not ask an agency like the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office for help with patrol, something Davidson has directly asked for.

“Shift commanders are experienced professionals. They know how to manage their personnel and adapt to the needs of any particular day. They also coordinate with other local law enforcement agencies as needed on a regular basis. They don’t need me to call the sheriff or anyone else for help. They have been doing it for years,” said Mayor Hall.

This was the documentation that was provided to those in attendance:

Also at the briefing, Davidson and Councilman Reddex Washington were stopped from entering, because they were not on the invite list. The city also said they had “limited space” for it. Notably, there were six empty seats.

At the end of Thursday’s special meeting, Davidson called for another meeting to be held on May 19.

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