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Armstrong responds to Mayo on crime committee

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Monroe Councilman Ray Armstrong is responding to Mayor Jamie Mayo about the creation of a new crime committee.

Mayo says it's illegal for any council member to interfere with the roles of city departments. The mayor wrote in a statement, the new committee will be against city law.

However, Saturday, Armstrong, representing District 1, wrote this letter in response:

Public safety is a major focus of mine as well. It is a fact that there has been an alarming amount of crime involving armed entry into homes with residents present, attempted murder of a lady hit in the head with a hammer and requiring her to enter ICU with a brain hemorrhage, homes burglarized, drive by shootings and multiple other violent crimes. A recent domestic violence resulted in an officer killing a young man holding a knife at a woman's neck. All this causes great concern among citizens of Monroe.

Many residents have attended recent town hall meetings and are still concerned. They want more done to reduce crime and are willing to participate with neighborhood watches and increase awareness of the dissemination of information through social media, etc. They have requested further information regarding reduction in police personnel, area patrols, response times, and crime statistics for our area. They say they are willing to assist Chief Holmes and have asked for a committee to review crime in Monroe.

I would be negligent in my duty if I did not respond to the concerns of our citizens. They are concerned that even though we are reassured, more can be done and they are willing to do their part.

Our citizens are computer savvy. They report to me, Internet sources showing Monroe as near the highest in domestic violence in the country, three times the murder rate per capita compared to the average of the state, and four gangs in Monroe. They want accurate and complete information.

In review of the City Charter it is totally appropriate to form this committee and not unprecedented.
On page six of the Home Rule Charter for the City Of Monroe, the mayor suggests "...neither the council nor any of its members shall involve themselves in any manner in the appointment, removal, direction or supervision of any City Administrative officer or employee."
This committee has no intention to remove, supervise, etc anyone.
Support for this committee comes from Section 2.07 which says, "...the city council may make investigations into the affairs of the City and the related conduct of any City official, officer, employee, department, office or agency and for the purpose may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony and require the production of evidence."
The purpose of this committee is to compile information, encourage citizen involvement, recognize officers who have done outstanding jobs, and to disseminate information.
This committee intent is to better understand the problem and make recommendations to the Mayor. Committee findings supportive of information reported by Chief Holmes not only will alleviate fears but will restore confidence in our police department.

Crime is a city wide concern and this committee will bring in and unite citizens from all districts. This is a win-win for everyone.

Ray Armstrong, MD
City Council District One

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