SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The surprise of Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond stepping down has passed and now, the massive task of dealing with violent crimes in the city falls on the shoulders of Interim Chief Wayne Smith.
Smith brings with him 42 years of crime-fighting experience and says he plans to address some of the root causes of violent crimes.
“Crime affects us all,” said SPD Interim Chief Wayne Smith.
“We all want to feel safe in our environment. We go at it from the perspective of prevention. By taking away the element that is causing the crime altogether. It is going to really really help us.”
Smith says he already has a plan in effect on hiring additional officers and reducing crime in the city. As of now, the department is currently over 100 officers short. Smith believes recruiting has to expand beyond the city limits of Shreveport and Bossier City.
“Colleges, universities, military bases, small towns; anywhere that we can find the people who have the right stuff to be a Shreveport police officer.”
He also wants to bring back the community police efforts, which were championed by Chief Raymond.
During this time, Wayne says he will lean heavily on his detectives and undercover agents.
“We plan to take more advantage of our intelligence information and try to get guns and drugs off the street,” said Smith.
After Resolution 110 of 2021 was proposed by Councilmembers Jerry Bowman and Levette Fuller and it cited the police department’s understaffing and recruiting issues, failure to improve crime rates, and the rise in homicide and violent crimes among the reasons for the vote. He said he feels confident in his ability to do the job.
“I feel confident that with that knowledge and with what I have, I’ll be able to come up with plans come up with a task infinite strategies that are going to be extremely effective in reducing our crime,’ he said.