SPD Union Pres: 2 Parades Same Day “Crazy”
The Shreveport Police Officer's Association union President, Michael Carter, calls the idea of two parades on the same day is absurd. And, he explains why.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is scheduled to meet with Mayor Tom Arceneaux in Shreveport on Friday [9/29] -- to help sort out all the issues involved in the Krewe of Centaur and the African American History parades, which are both scheduled to roll on Saturday, February 3, 2024.
The challenge for the city: how to find enough police officers for both parades. The Shreveport Police Officer’s Association Union President Michael Carter says the city needs a minimum of 300 officers to guarantee police can provide a safe, controlled environment along the parade route. But the city could only muster 207 officers in the last parade back in February of this year. Two people were shot, one of whom died. Carter recalls “What we’ve tried to tell everyone involved for several years, not just Mayor Arceneaux is, ‘we don’t have the staffing for that parade route anymore.’”
In the last few days we’ve heard a lot from Mayor Arceneaux, and his search for 60 more officers for the upcoming parades. Carter, for his part, describes the importance of hearing directly from the officers on the streets and having their feedback considered for any process moving forward, not simply cogs caught in the machinery of city government. “We need a relative expectation of being able to provide a peaceful environment. And we know what that takes. And if you just ignore what we’re telling you, then we hear, we hear loud and clear.”
Carter says he is against the decision to keep the same 5-mile-long parade route for Centaur as in years past. Carter also has strong feelings about the idea of two parades on the very same day in Shreveport. “Well now that, that is absolutely absurd. Okay nobody, nobody ever should expect when you’re 150 short to have a force that is already a hundred people below be split in half. Now that’s, that’s crazy.”
Chaos is exactly what the city of Shreveport is trying to avoid for the upcoming parade in four months. “Last year we had a parade that would have been over in about two hours last four and a half hours. I mean, that was ridiculous, okay. If you’re not going to have any rules whatsoever then you should expect chaos. You should expect pandemonium and that’s what we had.”
With control in mind, it was just days ago that we heard Mayor Arceneaux describe the city’s new contracts with the krewes as having teeth for any violations of their agreement, and by teeth he’s referring to financial penalties if rules are not followed, like someone interfering with the pace of the parade, for example, to slow it down.
There’s been a lot of speculation about bringing in outside officers, to help out. But Carter emphasizes any manpower assistance must include officers with the power of arrest. “Let me make that plain. We’ve had Wade Correctional officers over the years on horses, we’ve had, you know, other folks coming in. But this pretty much is coming down to it takes, it takes Shreveport Police, Caddo Sheriff, city marshal’s or state police. That’s who has the power of arrest inside this jurisdiction.”
Carter says he is not a doom and gloom guy, he wants the parades to succeed. He and others just don’t want anything bad or worse to happen.