Law enforcement officers from surrounding areas and representing the State Police spoke at the second Community Partnership Alliance meeting hosted by the Justice for Fatrell Organization on Saturday, Aug. 25 at the Depot in Port Allen.
The organization invited local law enforcement to speak to members of the community as a part of the organization’s mission to join as one to see the community grow and advance in love, peace, and respect through the power of God. The organization formed in response to the unsolved murder of Port Allen native Fatrell Queen.
Brusly Police Chief Jonathan Lefeaux, Maringouin Police Chief Hosea Anderson and Detective Kip Dupree with the Brusly Police Department addressed community members. Port Allen City Council member Brandon Brown was also in attendance. Port Allen Police Chief Esdron Brown was invited but did not attend.
Both Chief Lefeaux and Chief Anderson spoke about trust between the community and law enforcement as the most crucial aspect of a safe, strong community. Clerice Lacy, a spokesperson for the Justice for Fatrell Organization, spoke about the role of mental health in the community and its correlation to crime.
Police Chief Lefeaux encouraged the community to get to know new police officers with the Port Allen Police Department and “give them a chance.”
“Everybody needs to meet the new police officers that way y’all can learn to trust them,” he said.
The Justice for Fatrell Organization has cited the Port Allen Police Department’s lack of resources and communication as some of its main concerns in both the investigation and safety of the Port Allen community.
The high turnover rate of the Port Allen Police Department has been a point of contention for council members and Police Chief Brown. Chief Brown hired three police officers in July, and two quit before completing training. Councilman Gary Hubble made a motion for a hiring freeze until the high turnover is addressed. Mayor Richard Lee cast the tie-breaking vote to deny the proposal, saying he would not leave the department short-staffed.
“I just want to let you know trust and communication is the most important thing,” Police Chief Anderson said.
Next week, the organization plans to call upon local church leaders to address community members.
The Justice for Fatrell Organization and Community Partnership Alliance seeks to build stronger communities through prayer, family restoration, education, crime prevention, rehabilitation programs, recreational and social services. The group will meet next Saturday at the Railroad Depot in Port Allen at noon.