Something smells rotten in Ferriday

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ferriday’s lame duck police department operates under a cloud of suspicion.

Indictments on two current officers and three former officers muddy the appearance of law and order in an already questionable police department.

For months and months, residents have complained that Ferriday had become a speed trap. Officers were writing dozens of traffic citations each day.

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Critics argue that officers’ time is better spent working on “real” crimes such as Ferriday’s drug activity.

Perhaps that’s true, but we trusted that officers who said that slowing down motorists on the heavily pedestrian-populated areas might save lives.

Just after the recent mayoral election the officers went for days without writing a single ticket or arresting anyone, a 180-degree turn from the previous status quo. It seems the upcoming change in the mayor’s office left officers unmotivated to do their jobs.

Now, with grand jury indictments looming overhead, the integrity and ethics of the department again are called into question. Unfortunately, allegations ranging from false imprisonment to sexual misconduct tarnish the badges of all officers on the force, not just the accused.

While the accused officers are innocent until proven guilty, allowing some of the accused to continue to carry a badge, firearm and the power to arrest does a disservice to the law-abiding citizens of Ferriday.

Something smells rotten in Ferriday and it’s time the town council moves to clear the air. For the sake of what’s right — even if only for appearance sake — Ferriday should place the accused on paid administrative leave until the clouds clear over city hall.