WPD focused on what matters
Traffic Enforcement Detail (TED) is at the forefront of talks in Welsh yet again. There has been no official TED talk since last year and, honestly, it’s been nice not hearing about the program.
Since its inception about eight years ago, TED has been a great source of income for both the Welsh Police Department (WPD) and the town.
But it’s also been a source of contention between the Board of Alderman and the WPD, and time after time, even residents expressed their frustrations with the program.
It’s not that TED wasn’t beneficial in bringing revenue to the town or even taking erratic drivers and drug dealers off of I-10. The problem was that the WPD, under a previous administration, was focusing all its efforts on TED because of the money it provided cops. While crime steadily increased in Welsh; more and more residents claimed cops were actually failing to respond to calls; and unsolved crime after unsolved crime (many of which were violent crimes) piled up in the WPD, the department remained fiercely devoted to working TED.
For several years, there were few meetings that did not lead to a heated confrontation between the Board of Aldermen and the former police chief. The issues always involved TED. The WPD even insisted on keeping TED on interstate until crime finally became so bad within the town, the governor’s office, Louisiana State Police and Jeff Davis Sheriff’s Office had to step in to assist in routine patrols and criminal investigations.
Sure, TED was bringing in money – but Welsh was in shambles.
So how does it make any sense that some are now miffed that the WPD is focusing its energy on law and order and ethics instead of making money through TED?
At Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Aldermen (the details of which can be found on page one of Wednesday’s edition), in a prepared statement, Alderman Bob Owens referred to WPD Chief Marcus Crochet’s 2012 campaign, in which he promised to continue TED. Owens also pointed to the fact that the town expected about $300,000 from TED in the 2013-2014 fiscal year, but TED has yet to be implemented under Crochet’s administration. He also mentioned that officials recently had to amend the 2012-2013 budget, which only ended this past summer, because of a lack of revenue, which could also be attributed to a lack of TED activity.
But Owens brought the subject up without Crochet being able to explain his valid reasons, as he was handling official business in Baton Rouge. Alderman Allen Ardoin defended Crochet, saying the $300,000 from TED for this year was only projected, so that money didn’t actually exist to begin with. He also noted that a very important conversation was taking place when Crochet could not be in attendance to explain his department’s stance.
The truth of the matter is, Crochet did promise to continue TED and is almost ready to get that program back on the road. Since January, however, the WPD has had to fix a mess left by the previous administration, including sloppy handling of evidence; a slew of unsolved cases; beefing up its staff; as well as handling current cases coming into the department. Crochet has only been in office since January, but violent crime is no longer a daily occurrence in Welsh and citizens aren’t constantly crowding town hall during meetings to complain about the WPD. No one’s waiting for the governor to send state police back to the town, either.
It’s true, everyone was banking on TED funds for Welsh but more important things needed to be handled. But it should never fall on a police department’s shoulders to be the breadwinner for any municipality. The purpose of law enforcement is to enforce laws – not meet financial quotas.
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