There is a concern among our Arnaudville citizens about drugs – use as well as distribution. It’s an issue that embeds itself into our communities as drugs filter into our schools, playgrounds, neighborhoods, and even in people’s backyards. The dealers and users blatantly, and unashamedly, transact their business on side streets, parking lots, and bridges.
Arnaudville, and other small towns have become havens for drug users and dealers, partly due to the lack of resources, the lack of experienced law enforcement professionals, and sometimes weak, and ineffective leadership that turns a blind eye to the growing and often complex problem. Speaking in general terms, police corruption can be a problem, as well. The reputation of a police department becomes a factor that might determine for the drug user/dealer if this might be a place where they can engage in drug activity undisturbed, safe in the knowledge that “no one is looking” or there is no appetite for addressing the problem, or worse – “bad cops” might be easily persuaded with favors and promises of kick-backs to undermine or sabotage efforts to crack down on their enterprise.
Citizens become frustrated as they watch, or are aware of drug activity, but feel nothing is being done about it, or they witness a revolving door for those guilty. Many times we see the perpetrators “walk” due to technicalities and methods used or not used by law enforcement, including evidence gathering, search and seizure protocol, and finally report-writing. Any one of these snafus alone, or in a combination can cause a case to be thrown out.
As the highest ranking law enforcement officer of Arnaudville, I understand the frustration, realize there is a drug problem, and am committed to addressing it. In our effort to tackle the problem, multiple law enforcement agencies on a Federal, regional, and local level must work together to organize successful drug busts. I am aware of the rural police departments’ limitations and restrictions, so I have been about the building of strong relationships with St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office, St. Martin’s Sheriff’s Office, as well as other neighboring agencies. As quickly as feasible, our officers are receiving additional training, and as quickly as possible, I am upgrading equipment, establishing protocols and procedures, and providing hands-on leadership. ALL of this preliminary activity will produce for Arnaudville in the long run, the tools necessary to address the drug issue and all criminal elements living and operating among us.
Citizens can assist by reporting drug activity they witness, and hopefully credible and reliable information will help initiate planning and preparation. Drug round up's take time, sometimes six-months to a year's worth of planning if we want to get at the core – the dealer(s). It’s not a run with guns blazing kind of operation. Our best advantages are preparation and planning, and the element of surprise. But even with preparation the element of danger never disappears, forcing officers to consistently bring their "A" game.
Be aware that citizens will not see the planning and preparation; they will not become aware of the time, place and circumstance. In some cases one law enforcement agency may not be aware of another’s activity until it is over, because confidentiality makes the element of surprise work in our favor.
Your concerns are noted. Your concerns are also mine, and are among our priorities going forward.