Robideaux announces crime initiative, Stanley responds

Photo: KLFY/ John Weatherall

Joel Robideaux, a candidate for city-parish president, on Tuesday released his plan to tackle crime and public safety if elected.

Robideaux, a state legislator, and Dee Stanley, chief administrative officer of Lafayette Consolidated Government, are running for city-parish president. The election is Oct. 24.

Robideaux’s plan for the first 100 days in office includes calling a meeting of law enforcement leaders throughout Lafayette Parish to establish an emergency task force on violent crime. The purpose of the task force will be to identify, arrest, prosecute and jail those who commit violent crimes.

The task force will include a special investigative unit and a tactical unit to undertake field work, along with an interagency liaison.

Three specific tools to help the task force will be implemented, as well. Robideaux said he’ll work with the community to find another $100,000 for CrimeStoppers payouts for tips that lead to arrests and convictions for violent crimes.

Robideaux said he also wants to build up community policing efforts, building trust in neighborhoods between residents and law enforcement officers.

“Living in fear should have no place in our community. It is unconscionable that some of our elderly and young families refuse to leave their homes after dark. It’s time we add public safety to our ‘best of’ list,” he said.

Stanley, in response, said his platform for the past 12 years as chief administrative officer has been to put public safety first.

“I’ve been involved with assisting the police department and working together with our council and mayor to provide the funding necessary to staff our police department which, as of today, has only two vacancies; to provide our police department with adequate pay; to provide them with the latest in technology requested by the police chief, including new vehicles; the construction of a $1 million police substation (on Moss Street); and assisting the department with the tools it needs for neighborhood oriented policing and precinct oriented policing,” Stanley said.

For more than a year, at the request of the sheriff, LCG officials have been participating in a multi-agency group, a criminal justice coordinating committee that involves every agency in the parish that deals with criminal justice, including the district attorney’s office, clerk of court, judges, school board, public defender, sheriff, police department, LCG, probation and parole and city marshal, he said.

Regarding Robideaux’s ‘best of’ statement, Stanley replied, “I have always thought that public safety in Lafayette and Lafayette Parish was the ‘best of.’ ”

To prove that public safety is a priority, the more than half the costs to operate the city of Lafayette budget is in public safety, he said.

Council Chairman Kenneth Boudreaux, who was re-elected without opposition, said the problems in his district are not about law enforcement. They’re bigger than law enforcement.

“I think our department has done a really good job” with community policing and new precincts have been added in high-crime areas over the past eight years, he said.

Offering more money through CrimeStoppers is not the answer, Boudreaux said.

“It’s not about the money,” he said. “This is bigger than policing. It’s quality of life, community behavior, family accountability.”

Sept. 23 is the last day to register to vote in the Oct. 24 election.

A debate between Robideaux and Stanley hosted by the Acadiana Press Club is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at South Louisiana Community College on Devalcourt Street in Lafayette. A panel of news media representatives will be asking the questions. The public is invited to attend.

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