Ferguson asks State Police to review Bunkie P.D. inventory
Scott Ferguson spent his first few days as Bunkie’s police chief trying to organize the department to his standards. Among his first acts as chief was to call in the State Police to take inventory of everything in the Police Department.
Ferguson defeated Bobby Corner, the previous police chief, in a runoff election on April 28. His four-year term began at 12:01 a.m. July 1.
He said he is reorganizing the way evidence and inventory was done under Corner’s administration.
“The way the evidence and inventory was done before was not the way I would like to see it,” Ferguson said.
He said he asked the State Police to come in just to be sure everything “was done properly” and that the inventory records and evidence items are clearly marked and stored.
MISSING OR NEVER BOUGHT?
What is not clear -- and which is why the inventory review was ordered -- is whether some equipment the department should have was never purchased or was bought and is now missing.
There is no formal investigation and no allegations of improprieties, Ferguson said.
State Police will be looking at the department’s inventory of supplies and equipment. The Avoyelles Sheriff’s Office will review how evidence was handled.
If those agencies’ reviews reveal any “improprieties,” a formal investigation would be conducted. If that happens, Ferguson pointed out he would not be able to comment on any investigation until it was completed.
An initial review of the department’s supplies and equipment found BPD needs body cameras, portable radios, bullet-proof vests and other items Ferguson considers essential for police officers on the streets.
“It was eye-opening once we started looking,” Ferguson said.
He said some items the department is lacking are needed to ensure officer and public safety.
It is important to quickly find the money -- which he said could be in the “tens of thousands of dollars” -- to purchase those items.
Ferguson said the department has been doing extensive clean-up in the police station, work shed and grounds around the station.
In the meantime, the officers appointed by the council have been patrolling the streets of Bunkie.
“We need more full-time officers, but we will only hire the ones that are willing to go to the Police Academy and take all the psychological tests needed to be covered by the city’s insurance,” Ferguson continued. “Some officers wanting to be full-time have to be hired as part-time officers until they complete their training.
“My goal is to put two officers in every police unit when the are patrolling the streets.”