SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Shreveport Police Department is implementing a new plan to reduce crime and compensate for the shortage of officers. Interim Police Chief Wayne Smith said all of their officers are now working an additional 4-hour shift during the week to help patrol the streets.
Smith shared that the agency is 108 officers short and he feels they must be creative with the resources they have.
“I could think of no better way than to require everyone, outside of the patrol environment including myself, to dedicate a portion of your workweek to actually getting in uniform, checking out a patrol car, going out in the community patrolling,” Smith said.
Sergeant Susan Mendels has been a patrol officer for 20 years and is looking forward to having more help on the streets.
“I’m thrilled because I mean it never stops and a lot of times we just don’t have anybody available to go to a call so when they’re putting extra bodies on the street, not only does it help us out but it makes the citizens feel a lot better and a lot safer. If you gotta wait an hour or two for a call because there are no officers then that doesn’t put a lot of faith in the system and the way it’s working,” she said.
Since making this change, Chief Smith says he has not had any pushback or negative comments from officers.
“For me, it’s revitalizing I love to go out and patrol. Many of our investigators and our support personal and administration, go out and work extra shifts out there on the streets. People are starting to get a sense of hope. We’re starting to see some of the calls fall off a little bit,” Sgt. Angie Willhite said.
Willhite will use this time to better connect with the community and recruit. Since this new implementation, she shared they have already begun to see a difference.
“We’re acting with a sense of urgency, a great sense of urgency to bring peace and harmony back to our community,” Chief Smith said. He is trying to rebuild their volunteer Auxiliary Officer Program by bringing in over 70 new citizens that will help with community needs.
Smith exclusively shared with KTAL NBC 6 that they are bringing back the Police Explorer Program, which teaches young men and women how to become better citizens.
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