Will Shreveport have enough police officers to handle security for the big Mardi Gras parades that are coming up next month?

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Interim Police Chief Wayne Smith tells KEEL News he has been working on a plan to make sure the parades have the property security.

What Is Being Done to Provide Security for the Parades?

Smith says "we are going to utilize every available option that we have and work harder with what we have. We have reached out to our partner law enforcement agencies that are going to assist us. The Caddo Parish Sheriff's office will help."

Have there been discussions about shortening the routes? Chief Smith says over the course of time this has been talked about, but at this point he says the routes will remain the same.

Will the Sick-Out Numbers Get Better at SPD?

The Chief says he is hoping that by the time the parades roll, the illness issues in the department will begin to decline. Chief Smith says right now he has between 30 and 40 officers out with Covid or on Covid protocol. But he says that number changes every day. He also says the department is still down 120-125 officers from normal staffing strength.


What Is Being Done to Attract More Officers?

He is hopeful a proposed 13% pay raise that is expected to be voted on next week will help address the critical manpower shortage in the department. He is also working on a plan to make it easier for officers in other departments in communities around the region to transfer laterally to SPD.

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