Last Modified: Friday, January 11, 2013 12:34 PM
JENNINGS — When Police Chief Todd D’Albor took office in 2010, he vowed to strengthen the bond between the department and the community to help turn around the city’s rising crime rate.
Nearly three years later, D’Albor says the city’s crime rate is improving and relations between residents and police officers are turning the corner as more people report crimes in their neighborhoods.
“Obviously, I am very pleased that for 2012 our major crimes were down with no homicides being reported,” D’Albor said. “I credit that action to the people of Jennings.”
The city’s last homicide occurred in March 2011.
Of a dozen violent crime categories tracked by the Jennings Police Department, six categories showed a significant decrease in the past year, with the other six showing an increase, including two categories that saw a sharp rise.
While the number of homicides dropped from two in 2011 to none in 2012, the number of shootings was unchanged at five, and attempted murders rose by two. Stabbings were down in 2012 by 33 percent.
Armed robbery rose 80 percent and assaults were up by 83 percent in 2012 over 2011. One more rape was reported over 2011 for a total of five in 2012.
“When I took office I said I needed the community’s help in dealing with the crimes that were happening in the past,” he said. “This community has stuck together because they care about Jennings and the crimes that were taking place in the past.”
The department has developed a stronger relationship with residents and he plans to build on that, D’Albor said.
Auto thefts dropped from three in 2011 to only one in 2012. Burglaries were down 16 percent in 2012 while drug law violations were up 37 percent. D’Albor cited greater cooperation from the citizens of Jennings for the drop in burglaries and increase in the number of drug arrests.
“We can always do better,” D’Albor said.“Every year I look in the mirror, as a police chief and the police department as a whole … . We aren’t perfect, but I always reflect on what we are doing well and what we need to correct so that we don’t make the same mistakes.”
In addition to continuing to build upon community relations, D’Albor hopes to build on the city’s narcotics division and direct patrol units to continue to concentrate on crimes and high crime areas with a “pro-active” approach to reacting to crime.
“We need to send them (criminals) a strong message that we are right around the corner and we are going to catch them,” he said.
Among their goals, D’Albor and Deputy Chief Danny Semmes would like to increase training for the department’s 40 personnel to include plans for a training facility to be located near the department’s shooting range. The center could also be utilized for firearms, defense tactics and other training for area law enforcement agencies.
“I think one of the areas we need to look at is some enhanced training for our officers across the board, especially in active shooter response,” Semmes said.
Six officers have attended active shooter response training and are now certified.
“But we need to spread that throughout our department, so in the event that we have to respond to an active shooter situation we will be better prepared for it,” Semmes said.