Politicians talk

I’ve heard it more than once.  I don’t talk enough. I’m too quiet.

Politicians talk, and talk, and talk some more.  But, do they ever hear what you have to say?

I Listen.  I listen to what you say. I absorb what I hear. And because I listen instead of talking, I know what issues concern you and are important to you.

Isn’t it time we elect someone who listens more than he talks?

Eunice Deserves Better

The Headlines Read:

June 3, 2011                “Civil Service board rescinds three officers’ disciplinary actions”

December 11, 2011      “Police Chief Secretary position on Tuesday’s agenda”

April 12, 2012              “Council considers having heavier hand in police hiring”

May 10, 2012               “Dies reverses course, now wants secretary position filled;

                                   Chief, council accuse each other of playing politics”

July 11, 2012                “Group meets with officials to share concerns about law enforcement”

August 23, 2012           “Chief Dies says he intends to offer secretary’s job to one of applicants”

September 13, 2012     “Council agrees to chief request for Secretary”

March 24, 2013            “AG got no inquiry in ‘sexting’ case”

March 28, 2013            “Police seek opinion, AG can’t do it”

May 16, 2013               “Council hears renewed cop complaints”

June 13, 2013               “Police issues lead council meet”

September 22, 2013     “Chief denies Mott retribution”

October 6, 2013           “Manpower need poses funeral help issue”

October 13, 2013          “Council tables further consideration of officer termination proposal”

November 14, 2013       “Eunice Police Department investigating one of its officers”

November 17, 2013       “FBI, State Police screen police tape”

January 19, 2014           “Civil Service Board reverses Chief’s discipline”

January 23, 2014           “Stay calm, orderly activist urges group upset by officer”

April 20, 2014               “Report reflects arrests jump”

April 24, 2014               “Malfeasance charged in fight case”

April 27, 2014               “Chief, panel at odds over job outline”

May 15, 2014                “Council agrees to firing”

June 1, 2014                 “Board says chief waited too late to discipline officer for actions”

 

Can you find the good in all of this?  I know we have officers working in our police department who are doing some good.  They are protecting us and our property.  But all of the controversy, and We have had more than our share, overshadows the good.  Eunice Deserves Better.

It’s not wrong unless someone complains

February 10, 2013   A video is recorded of an officer choking someone.

The week following, supervisors and the chief of the EPD view the video

November 2013 the video goes public.  The Chief turns investigation over to FBI and State Police According to Chief in a statement to the press.

FBI reports findings but we never hear from State Police.  Was it ever really turned over to State Police?

February 3, 2014 the Chief decides to discipline the officer.

May 28, 2014 Civil Service Hearing Held.  Chief testifies he initiated investigation after a media inquiry

The Chief testified, “No violation occurred and there was no complaint made.” http://eunicetoday.com/local/board-says-chief-waited-too-late-discipline-officer-actions

Thoughts to ponder: Would there have been a violation if a complaint was made? Apparently so, the Chief initiated an investigation as soon as the media inquired about it.

If the Chief knows an officer has disobeyed the law or violated policy, will he allow the violations to continue until someone complains?

Deceit, Deception, Lies, cover-ups,  EUNICE DESERVES BETTER.

POST YOUR COMMENTS AND THOUGHTS.

It’s Time to reconnect the Police Department with the community

I have been out and about talking with people, and listening to what they have to say.  One thing that I’ve learned is that my passions for our police department are the same as the people’s issues and concerns.

                                               The top three issues are:

 

       1.  We all want see the community’s faith in and respect of the police department restored

       2.  We all want a police chief and police department that will communicate with and reach

             out to the community

       3.  We need an experienced chief who can deal with the issues and concerns of our police

            department

                                                

                                                     These issues tell me something.

It appears the people feel that our police department has disconnected itself from the community.   Nearly four years ago the candidate who ran as and proclaimed himself to be an OUTSIDER was elected Police Chief.  Now most feel our police department is an outside agency, not of our community.

                                                            The Solution

Elect a Police Chief who is experienced.  Experienced with our police department, our community and our people.  A candidate who is part of the community and does not claim to be an outsider.

1st Response, No Basic First Aid & CPR

Police Officers are usually the first at most scenes.  Seconds count and can save lives.  Did you know that most of our police officers are not even certified in Basic First Aid and CPR.  They do receive certifications in the police academy, but most are never recertified after the academy training.

Recertification training is free in most cases.  Why not take advantage of it and have our police officers trained to do the jobs they are expected to do?  Why not have some of our officers certified as instructors so we can train our own officers? Just questions I think should be asked.

A side note: Ironically, our police department trains regularly and has certified instructors to train our officers in shooting, pepper spraying, and Tasing.  They do not regularly train to help the injured or save the dying.

TRAINING, ANOTHER FAILED PROMISE

Dies claimed during his campaign for Chief, that he had many resources and offers to provide free training to our police officers.  Recently, April 10, 2014 to be exact, the St. Landry Parish District Attorney’s office hosted, and paid for, a great training by Judge Harmon Drew and his wife, Attorney Jean Drew.  Included with the training was a valuable resource book the Drew’s update annually for Law Enforcement Officers.  I am familiar with the Drew’s and their book because I had invited them to present at the Louisiana Misdemeanor Probation Officers’ Assn. Conference the next day.

The training was offered to all law enforcement agencies in the parish.  The Eunice Police Department had the opportunity to send 6 officers to this training.  Free, all costs paid.  No one from the EPD attended.

We all know training is important and vital for our police officers.  Vital enough for Dies, as a candidate for Chief, to promise that he could acquire training while implying the other candidates did not have the resources.

The training resources are out there, they are available.  Not only do I promise that I can acquire training, I also promise that our police department will not miss out on these valuable opportunities.

The Crawfish and Lack of Police Presence

Can you believe, a city function as large as the Crawfish Cook-off, had no police presence?  That’s right. No police anywhere to be seen, calls to the police department for officers were unfruitful.  Traffic jams, cars blocked in parking lots by other vehicles, and no police to help.  No protection, no service.  Listen to my interview on KEUN FM 105.5.

https://soundcloud.com/qkahuna/randy-fontenot-on-keun-fm

I will not make promises I know I may not be able to keep, but this I will promise.  Elect me as your next Chief of Police and next year’s cook-off, and other events in our City WILL have a police presence.

I have spoken recently of rebuilding our Reserve Officers’ Force.  This is why a Reserve Force is needed.  There should be no excuse that our police department is too shorthanded to Protect and Serve our community.

Experience and Qualifications

I have been speaking the past several weeks about what is expected of our police officers and our police department.  Today I want to talk about the qualifications of your next Police Chief.  We should expect our Police Chief to possess certain knowledge, skills, and experience to tackle the tasks he will be required to undertake.

We should expect our Police Chief to have a working knowledge of the laws and the constitutional rights of the citizens.  His skills should encompass public relations, management and leadership.  He should have experience with his community and the issues unique to the community.

I believe my experiences, training and employment history qualify me to be your next Chief of Police.

I began my criminal justice career in 1982 when I was hired as a patrolman with the Eunice Police Department. I was promoted to Police Sergeant in 1987 and Lieutenant in 1990.  During this time I served as juvenile officer, Chief of Detectives, Shift Commander and K-9 officer. I was co-founder and charter president of the Eunice Police Officers’ Association until my retirement from the department.

The Louisiana Legislature passed legislation in 1989 shifting the responsibility of supervising misdemeanor probation cases from the Department of Corrections to the local courts.  Judge Feucht asked me if I would serve the court in the capacity of probation officer.  I became the first probation officer for the City of Eunice.  I started on a part-time basis while still working with the police department. 

Also in 1990, I started supervising probation cases for Oakdale City Court and the 33rd Judicial District Court in Oberlin, hiring and supervising several other probation officers to assist me.  1990 was also the year I was presented the 1st place award for Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer in the State of Louisiana by the V.F.W.

I retired from the Eunice Police Department in 1998 when I purchased my father’s business partner’s interest in a lumber and hardware store.  I assumed the position of manager in the business until my father’s retirement and we sold the business in 2003.  I maintained my part-time employment with Eunice City Court during this time.

Shortly after selling the business, I began working full time as the chief probation officer for Eunice City Court and was eventually appointed as Judicial Administrator for the Court, both positions I currently hold.

I was owner and manager of Superior Training Academy, teaching Driver’s Education, Pre-Licensing and Defensive Driving Courses.

I am the founder and president of the Louisiana Misdemeanor Probation Officers’ Association, a successful association, with its beginning in 2008, of probation officers from all parts of the state.  I will be resigning as president at our 6th annual conference next month leaving a growing and sound organization to my successors.

My career has provided many training opportunities consisting of specialized training in Community Policing, Crimes Against the Elderly, Child Abuse and Exploitation Investigative Techniques and Evidence Collection and Preservation, just to name a few.  I graduated from the Juvenile Officer’s School at L.S.U. and studied Criminal Justice at L.S.U.-E.

Response to a question

I have been sent a message asking this question.

"All these cops that come in with the above the world attitude and disrespect for those in the community. When I was growing up cops were respected and looked up too. I can’t say that now. How will you fix that."

The question is not an easy one to answer in short, the problem is not one that can be "fixed" quickly.  Here is my response.

I have said before, Respect is something you must earn.  Police officers will earn respect by treating people with dignity and paying the respect that is due them.  Only when officers can do this will they be respected by the community.

Here’s that word "community" again.  I firmly believe that the best officers reside in and live with the people of the community.  They need to know the people of the community.  Knowing the community they work in and for makes a huge difference in an officer’s interaction with that community.  This, I have learned from experience. 

Another solution to the issue of respect is training.  More training is needed in the area of public relations.  Our officers should be trained in their professional interactions and personal interactions with the people of the community.

The best training that can be attained by an officer is through observance of the officer’s supervises and leadership.  I believe our officers do and will follow the examples set by their leaders.  We must lead by example.

Finally, hiring of officers who display a quality of respect to others, as well as respect for himself will eventually change the attitudes of the officers and the public’s attitude toward the officers.  A strong force of Reserve Officers not only increase police protection and service to the city, but is also a good vetting ground.  A reserve officer can be observed and scrutinized for his interactions, professionalism and other traits before hiring as a full time officer.

I hope this response has satisfactorily answered your question.  These are all issues I have been speaking of recently and I believe to be of utmost concern to the citizens of Eunice.

I will always remember to pay respect in order to receive respect, and we can all interact With Respect to ALL.

What Does the Police Motto Mean?

To Protect and To Serve. Do you want your police department to be nothing more than a law enforcement agency, in existence only to enforce laws, write tickets and make arrests?  Or do you expect more from your police department? I think the police motto explains what we all expect the role of a police department to be.

Protection is not afforded to the people alone, but all entities, including our local businesses, groups, or other lawful gatherings of the people.  In the September 22, 2013 edition of The Eunice News, Chief Dies was quoted as saying, “We are sworn to protect and serve the public, not private business.” He later reiterated the same statement at a Eunice City Council Meeting.

I disagree with that statement.  Private businesses are part of the “public”.  Private businesses pay taxes, as do individuals, for the same protections.  Should we not protect private properties because they are not the the “public.” We cannot limit who or what we should protect.  We should protect ALL, individuals, businesses and property.

Let’s take a look at the word Serve.  Again, the motto does not suggest who our police department should serve so I would take that to mean that ALL should be served.  All who are protected should also be served.  Now, how does a police department serve? It should serve by protecting. It should serve those in need. It should serve city government, local charities, organizations and businesses.  All of these are the people.

The motto also does not say how the police should serve.  I would think then, that the police should serve in any way necessary and possible to make our lives in Eunice as safe, comfortable and pleasant as possible.  When questioned recently at a meeting of the Eunice Advisory Committee, Chief Dies remarked that he felt it was not a duty of the police department to teach children and others right from wrong or how they should behave.

Although I do agree with him that it is a family responsibility, I think the police department can serve a vital role by being involved with the schools and providing some forum to educate the family.  Our police department is a part of our community.  To some it may not always appear so, but it is.  Our police department and the public should meet and interact with one another just as two members of a community would.  Always willing to help each other out when in need, communicate in a manner befitting of two members of the community and protecting the integrity of that relationship.

I have listened to questions being asked at the Eunice Advisory Committee meeting and the answers of the chief indicated to me that he simply sees our police department as a Law Enforcement agency.  Our police department should be more than just a law enforcement agency.  It does not exist for the sole purpose of enforcing laws, writing tickets or making arrests.  Is that what you want your police department to be, simply a law enforcement agency?

My final thought on the Motto is that our police department should Protect ALL and Serve ALL, in any way that safely meets the needs of our community.  And, we can do it with Respect to ALL.