Yes, Virginia, it is an election year in Shreveport.
And yes, current mayor Ollie Tyler is running for re-election.
Maybe that explains her recent pie in the sky statement. Tyler wants to hire 80 new police officers this year.
That’s is a tall order, considering many factors.
Let’s start with money.
The starting salary of a rookie officer is a tad under 34 grand.
This means 80 officers will cost the city $2.72 million a year. Let’s just say they all start 1 July—which cuts down the needed bucks to $1.36 million for the remainder of the year.
At the last look, the 2018 Shreveport budget did not have a surplus.
And in fact, the Caddo Commission is being asked to help fund patrols by Caddo sheriff deputies within the Shreveport city limits.
Then there is the issue of recruiting new officers and the needed screening before hiring.
Rookies must go to a 16-week academy. And then there is field training under the supervision of another officer. The estimated time frame for running employment ad to putting green officers on the street is a minimum of 12 months. Hmm… there is less than 7 months left in 2018.
And then there is the constant attrition of officers leaving the force.
Some retire, others find better-paying jobs, and some are fired. Four officers left the SPD in the last 2 weeks.
Thus a magical hiring of 80 new officers will not translate into 80 more cops patrolling the streets. Just a minor detail, but a reality.
Tyler and other mayoral candidates should not give Shreveport citizens false hope by promising magic bullets to reduce Shreveport crime, especially violent crime.
And speaking of bullets, they keep flying on Shreveport streets.
Tyler’s hiring goal is not only outlandish but really sad. Seemingly no real progress has been made to control crime despite assurances from city hall.
No doubt the crime discussion will dominate this year’s mayor’s race—and well it should. Little good that will do to the victims of this continuing tragedy.