Today is the first day in office for the new mayor and police chief of Opelousas.
Mayor Julius Alsandor and Chief Martin McLendon hope to bring changes to the city.
“We want better for our home and hopefully we can get those things done for the City of Opelousas, by working together with a government you can trust,” said Alsandor.
As a former councilman, he knows firsthand about the divide between the council and mayor’s office.
“The city itself needs to have the dark cloud removed from it. We need to sit down and have some dialogue,” he said.
Alsandor said his priority is to unify the government and the people.
“Government can’t fix everything but with constructive dialogue between the people in the City of Opelousas and the government, we can come up with some conclusions or some viable solutions to have all of us move forward,” said Alsandor.
He also said the city government will have to address its tight budget.
“We’re going to bring in Louisiana’s Municipal Association, we’re going to bring in the ethics board. Having them understand what the process is on how we go about making good, sound fiscal decisions,” he said.
Similar to the mayor, Police Chief Martin McLendon said the first thing he wants to do is build trust within the community.
“I’m asking officers to put their windows down, get off of the phone and build a relationship with people in the community,” said McLendon.
And he also plans to re-open the jail which was closed down by the Department of Health last year.
“We have already been in contact with our state representatives. There are some funds available, which were available months ago to bring repairs to the jail,” he said.
McLendon said he hopes to give officers a raise and recruit more employees.
The police department is down to 39 officers with about half of them on patrol.
“The patrol division commander, we’re giving him access to every police officer in the department so he can take those officers and put them in strategic locations, build up the patrol division. We work for the people and I want the officers to take on that attitude,” he said.
The mayor and police chief will be sworn into office this Sunday, Jan. 6th at the Civic Center at 3 pm.