Alderman meeting concerning Ferriday Police — canceled?

Published 1:59 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2022

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FERRIDAY, La. — A special meeting concerning a proposal for Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office to handle law enforcement in Ferriday, Louisiana, was apparently called for by a member of the Ferriday Board of Aldermen and abruptly canceled Monday evening. Mayor Rydell Turner said he never called the meeting.

The meeting was announced in the Concordia Sentinel after Alderman Andre Keys and the town attorney Philip Letard reportedly met with Concordia Parish Sheriff David Hedrick regarding the proposal for the sheriff’s office.

Initially, Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office proposed a contract offering Ferriday eight deputies working in two-man shifts for $44,000 a month, the Sentinel reported.

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In recent meetings, Keys amended the proposal to say that CPSO would take control over Ferriday law enforcement, eliminating Ferriday Police Department entirely.

Ferriday Mayor Rydell Turner took exception to this.

“This town is safe, even without the sheriff’s department here,” he told the Sentinel. “A lot of towns are having problems. I do not want our police department eliminated. For the small amount of resources our department has, I think they do a heck of a job.”

Hedrick told the Sentinel he was concerned about the proposal as well. Some of his concerns are that the Town of Ferriday has an appointed police chief and that the sheriff’s department has to give a 30-day notice if it decides to end the agreement.

The Ferriday Police Chief is appointed by the mayor and approved by the Board of Aldermen.

Rep. C. Travis Johnson, a Ferriday native, has proposed to the House of Legislative Services to have the town’s police chief elected. Letard said the aldermen were working on a compromise for Hedrick to consider.

“I never called a meeting,” Turner said Tuesday, adding only the mayor or a quorum of the Board of Aldermen has the authority to call a special meeting.

He said one of the Alderman had called the meeting but it was canceled when another alderman couldn’t make it.

However, Keys and Alderwoman Gloria Lloyd were outside of Ferriday Hall at 6 p.m. Monday, waiting and questioning whether the mayor and other aldermen would show. The building was locked, it was raining and they waited until 10 minutes after 6 p.m. and left the facility.

“Andre Keys messaged me about the meeting,” Lloyd had said as she waited in her car with the window rolled down. “We’re supposed to get an agenda 24 hours before but I never got one.”

Keys has not responded to calls or messages by publication deadline.

Regarding Ferriday Police, Turner said, “We’re moving along great.”

Turner said he is not considering a contract with CPSO at this time but instead is trying to hire more police officers.

“We might revisit (the contract) later on,” he said.

He said the board approved $2 raises for police officers, bumping their pay from $15 to $17 per hour in an effort to hire more officers and “beef the department up.”

These raises are set to go into effect in May, Turner said. He added a couple of officers were added to the police force since the raises were announced.