Citizens: Drugs, break-ins should be new Ferriday chief’s top priorities

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 20, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. – Fighting drugs, protecting property from break-ins and creating a system for letting crime victims know where investigations stand should be top priorities of Ferriday’s next police chief, citizens said this week.

Last Wednesday, Mayor-Elect Glen McGlothin said he and a citizen committee had recommended Bobby Sheppard of Ferriday to be the town’s next chief. Sheppard, 43, has worked for five years in Vidalia but previously worked three years as a Ferriday police officer.

Sheppard’s appointment is expected to be approved by the Town Council immediately after McGlothin and council members are sworn in July 1. Sheppard is on vacation until July 1 and could not be reached for comment this week.

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&uot;Drugs, I&160;would think, would be the main thing&uot; Sheppard would need to address once he is sworn in as chief, said Mary Melancon of Ferriday.

James Freeman agreed police need to make combating drugs their first priority, bringing in drug sellers if they can get the proof to do so. But he said it will take more than police work to get at the heart of the problem.

&uot;Many people get out of school and can’t find jobs in this area,&uot;&160;said Freeman, himself a teacher at Ferriday High School.

&uot;And when people can’t get jobs, they have nothing to turn to but the streets. So creating more jobs would, I&160;think, help solve the (drug) problem.&uot;

Shirley Mason believes one of Sheppard’s first tasks should be to appoint a community task force to brainstorm solutions for reducing the spread of drugs. &uot;Also, more investigation should be done of who’s selling these drugs,&uot;&160;Mason said. &uot;It shouldn’t be hard – everyone knows who they are.&uot;

Others said top priorities for Sheppard and the department’s officers should also be protecting people’s property from burglaries and better informing victims of the status of their cases.

&uot;My car, my house and my girlfriend’s house were broken into … and I&160;told them where my girlfriend’s T.V. was because I&160;had seen it, and I&160;still don’t know what happened with that (case),&uot; said Ledger Powell.

&uot;You hear about burglaries and break-ins, mostly,&uot;&160;said Rae Beatty. &uot;People broke into my son’s house and they never found out who did it.&uot;

Alfred Leonard said police need to concentrate on simply enforcing the laws that are on the books.

&uot;Laws about loud music and break-ins and gathering on street corners&uot;&160;are some examples, Leonard said. &uot;Sometimes you have to drive on the shoulder of the road just to get around these kids.&uot;

Current Police Chief Eddie Newman could not be reached for comment.

Synthedia Parker-Collins said Sheppard probably knows most of those problems already.

&uot;He lives here in Ferriday, so he probably already knows what the priorities should be and how they should be addressed,&uot; she said.