Last Modified: Monday, September 10, 2012 12:05 PM
WELSH — Residents are seeking the help of an out-of-state consultant to create short- and long-term solutions to problems with crime, trust and race in their community.
The Welsh Citizens Concerned for Public Safety and District Attorney Michael Cassidy have asked Furlow Communications, a Mississippi-based crisis and strategic communications consultant, to conduct a study to address issues facing the town.
Those include an increase in violent crimes, a lack of trust in authorities and the resulting failure of the community to cooperate with police.
“I am extremely concerned about the violence and narcotic violations going on in Welsh, and from talking to the people it is obvious everyone shares that concern and wants to take their town back,” Cassidy said.
The group feels an outside mediator will help by seeing and hearing things from a different perspective and from all sides.
Bill Furlow of Furlow Communications arrived in Welsh this week. He plans to tour the town and interview nearly two dozen residents, among them crime victims, elected officials and business owners.
“We hope this research will give us information that we don’t have about what our problems are, why we are having the problems and what to do about them,” said Jim Wright of the Welsh Citizens Concerned For Public Safety.
Gun-related violence has led to the shooting deaths of three men in less than a year and the injuries of several others. There have also been reports of increases in thefts and other crimes.
“We are looking for and want some strategies to promote peace in our town,” Wright said. “We are not accustomed to living in a town with a lot of violence. That is not the way our town is, and we know we have to alleviate the problems.”
The firm did a similar survey in Jennings in 2009 after a series of high-profile crimes. The eight-page report found that race and other issues deeply divided the city, creating a lack of trust and respect for law enforcement officials and others in the community.
Welsh has similar issues, Cassidy said.
“From my perspective there seems to be a lack of faith and trust in law enforcement, yet on the other side, law enforcement feels it doesn’t have the cooperation of citizens,” Cassidy said. “Those are legitimate concerns, and there is not enough faith and trust to cooperate to work together to work these issues out.”
Wright said the Welsh Citizens Concerned for Public Safety has made efforts to address the issues.
Since last year, the group has held meetings among themselves and with outside law enforcement agencies to discuss the issues and develop strategies, he said.
“We want to return Welsh to the peaceful community that we all remember,” Wright said.
The group has identified many areas of concern and had some pointed out to them by outside parties who have worked through similar issues, he said. One issue is communication across ethnic and socio-economic boundaries. Another is trust in government and law enforcement.
“We plan to continue meeting and adhere to whatever strategies he (Furlow) recommends and will try to restore peace to our community,” Wright said,
The report is expected to be completed by October.
Posted By: Jim On: 9/10/2012
Title: Look at the Facts
Look at the simple facts, and don't waste time on a 'consultant'. Here are some very simple solutions that will make great strides:
1. The police should enforce the laws "equally" for all persons regardless of race, ethinicity, etc..;
2. The DA should prosecurte fairly and impartially, and support the police and citizens in getting the criminal(s) of the street(s) "for good";
3. The police need to constantly patrol the street(s) and meet with the citizens, which means the police shouldn't be working speed detail on I-10, sitting idle at the police station, or hanging out uselessly at the "speedy tote";
4. The citizens, although as perfect as they feel they may be, should be receptive to police presence and understand that they can't catch all of the criminals in one day;
5. The citizens should continually monitor the activity(ies) in their neighborhoods and if need be, ring the phones off the hook at the police station, sheriffs department and 911. Likewise, take photgraphs of activity(ies) that seem suspicious, let your neighbor(s) know what's going on, and always REPORT...REPORT...REPORT!
6. Finally, all should recognize that crime is a problem everywhere and in every community today. The ideal fix is (and your consultant is going to tell you this as well) COME together and STICK together. There is safety in numbers and numbers bring positive results.