NewsLocal NewsVermilion Parish

Actions

Abbeville officials calling on state police to help reduce crime in the city

Abbeville officials calling on state police to help reduce crime in the city
Posted at 5:35 PM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 20:03:06-04

In Abbeville, the answer to fighting crime in the city is still unknown.

In a special meeting today, law enforcement officials, city leaders and residents discussed what's going on. There are a number of options on the table.

"We don't know where the gunshots are coming from, but it makes you unsafe, you don't know what to do. Just talking about it with no solutions and no resolutions is meaningless," says Maryland Mitchell.

Maryland Mitchell is a lifelong Abbeville resident. She is angry about what's happening in her hometown. Her neighbors are afraid of what could happen next, and don't feel the police department can protect them.

Mitchell says, "They are scared for their lives and they are scared to report things to the police department. It's a problem in my area because we have elderly 60 [years old] on up in my particular area."

Another option talked about in Thursday's meeting was asking state police to help with patrols. Abbeville police chief Bill Spearman says no formal request has been made, but says that option may not work either.

Spearman says, "They were having the same trouble we're having, shorthanded, not enough man power, things like that. So sometimes it's impossible for other agencies to send us help."

The meeting wrapped up with the suggestion of a joint task force between the sheriff's office and Abbeville Police, in which both officers and deputies will patrol. Sheriff's officials feel local agencies should be in control.

"If they take over they don't know our streets they don't know our drug dealers they don't know our violent criminals. We would have to be able to run this task force and suggest to them where we need them and in what capacity we need them," said a sheriff's deputy.

The next special meeting will be held on the first Thursday in April.