LAFAYETTE, La. (KADN) - A memo to officers of the Lafayette Police Department from the chief tells them to enforce laws restricting panhandling in the city of face discipline.
The memo by Chief Thomas Glover, dated July 27, 2021, was directed to "all uniformed Lafayette Police Officers, regardless of rank."
It also states that officer going to other calls should contact the watch office if they spot panhandlers.
"Violations of this directive shall result in progress discipline," Glover wrote in the memo.
Tuesday evening, Chief Glover released a statement addressing public safety concerns.
"As the Chief of Police for the city of Lafayette, public safety is the number one priority. Recently, there have been a series of violent acts in the city of Lafayette that concern the citizens throughout the city. The Lafayette Police Department will diligently work non-stop to bring justice to any victim, or the family members of victims. We will aggressively identify, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who commit violent criminal acts in this city.
Over the past few weeks, in-depth collaboration with other law enforcement agencies has led to a team approach to rid our city of those who choose to commit violent acts. The multi-agency attack we utilize, involves a partnership with 9 other agencies that serve our city. It involves the apprehension of those on the most wanted list in Lafayette, aggressive prosecution at the state and federal level, as well as an interruption of activities that involve the illegal trafficking of arms, or other criminal enterprise.
The mission of the Lafayette Police Department also entails the safety of citizens who travel our busy streets. Just over a week ago, a traffic safety initiative began; the aim is to enforce our vitally important traffic laws. Additionally, the Lafayette Police Department increased the staffing of the police unit tasked with the primary function of enforcing the Driving While Intoxicated laws. Other initiatives designed to maintain a safe city include internal instructions to enforce our ordinances that protect pedestrians, solicitors, and individuals in roadways. The enforcement of our local pedestrian ordinances does not prevent our department from addressing other violations of the law. As a professional, well- trained police department, we are not limited in our ability to perform only one safety function at a time. In fact, on a daily basis we protect people, property, and our roadways. Your safety is our top priority, but we cannot be irresponsible by creating a dangerous environment for our officers by releasing details on our policing methods and patrol strategies. Please be assured that we are implementing strategies and techniques to rid the city of Lafayette of criminal elements regardless of the magnitude of the crime.
In the fulfillment of our duty to maintain a safe city, there will be absolute conformity to equal application of the law. As the Chief of Police, I respectfully request that we work together to move Lafayette forward, and to collectively eradicate any actions intended to derail the progress we have made in bridging the gap.
Thomas L. Glover, Sr.
Chief of Police
The memo sent Tuesday from the chief follows a number of actions by the Lafayette Consolidated Government regarding panhandling. In March, two people were arrested for panhandling.
At the time, Mayor-President Josh Guillory told News 15 that fixing the problem was a top priority.
In June, LCG posted signs around Lafayette telling people to not give money to panhandlers but call a special number instead to report it.