Marksville City Council asks citizens to aid police
Neighborhood security is certainly a police department task, but residents and businesses can help the police and prosecutors bring criminals to justice.
At its May 8 meeting, the Marksville City Council discussed a program to enlist the help of homeowners and businesses to literally serve as additional sets of eyes in their communities.
The police are asking those businesses and homes with surveillance cameras to voluntarily sign up with the police and agree to review their tapes and/or make them available to investigators if a burglary or other crime occurs in their area.
Councilman Mike Gremillion said Alexandria has a similar program and it has been very successful in helping police investigate neighborhood crimes.
Gremillion encourages all residents and business owners with outside surveillance cameras to call MPD at 253-9250 to sign up for the program.
“It is completely voluntary and the list will not be shared with anyone else,” Gremillion said.
One person, who did not identify themselves, said many people do not want to get involved in police matters and will likely say “get a subpoena” if police ask to see their private security camera video.
It was noted that the property owner would have that right, but the public’s cooperation and participation in the program would be appreciated and would help improve neighborhood security around the city.
DOG POUND DISCUSSED
In another matter, Councilman Frank Havard asked for an update on the city dog pound. He noted the city has received “negative publicity” concerning the shelter over the past several months.
“We spent over $4,000 on the kennel and it is a lot better,” Havard said.
He waved a letter from the Humane Society of Louisiana requesting public records related to the city’s animal control program which makes several allegations that city officials say are unfounded.
Havard asked if dogs are being adopted and if people are being denied access to view and adopt the dogs.
Street Superintendent Cloyd Clayton said dogs are being adopted and people are allowed to view the dogs anytime there is an employee at the work yard where the shelter is located.
“Nobody has been stopped from viewing the dogs when someone is at the yard,” Mayor John Lemoine said. He said the shelter is not accessible to the public when there is no employee on site.
Lemoine said the HSL is “harassing” the city about its shelter program, but an official with the state Agriculture Department -- which has jurisdiction over animal control programs -- said the city is in compliance with state laws “and there are no problems.”
Havard said Marksville’s stray dog ordinance indicates the city “has to hold them, but we don’t have to keep them.”
He said that means the city can either have the dogs adopted or euthanize them if they can’t be adopted in a reasonable time period.
Lemoine -- who has consistently said the shelter is there to save dogs’ lives and not end them -- reminded the council that prior to the establishment of a “holding shelter,” the city was spending about $1,500 a week to have strays “put to sleep.”
In addition to the cost to have a veterinarian humanely kill the animal, the city had the responsibility of burying the remains.
Clayton said the city had only five dogs in its shelter as of the May 8 meeting.