MONROE, LA (KTVE/KARD)– NBC 10/ FOX 14 had an exclusive inside look at how Monroe PD is keeping our streets safe and our crime rate low. This ride-along started at 6 pm on Saturday night with Sergeant Darren Canales and his team.
Just minutes into the 12 hour shift with Sergeant Canales’ overnight team, we arrived on scene to an overturned vehicle on I-20 where the driver might have been drinking. Paramedics and Monroe Fire checked on those involved in the accident and Monroe PD investigated and helped direct traffic, making sure other drivers stayed safe.
“We want our citizens to be safe, we want them to be able to enjoy the city. We want them to be interactive with us and feel like they can talk to us at any time they would like. That is important to us,” said Victor Zordan, Chief of Police MPD.
In 2020, the City of Monroe reported a total of 22 homicides which was an increase from the 16 in 2019. However, in the two months Victor Zordan has been the Chief of Police, they’ve seen a decrease in violent crimes and the general crime rate. He believes it’s from the plans they’ve implemented, like the shot spotter that notifies police when a gun is fired in the city limits.
“We recently started a neighborhood watch program with the city council people. We’ve got a youth mentor program that we are establishing, we are bringing back the citizens academy. All so we can develop relationships with the community and police,” said Zordan.
So how is this translating over to street patrol like what Sergeant Canales’ team does?
“They actually get the chance to breath and not run from one call to the other. It also gives them the ability to be proactive and prevent crime before it actually happens,” said Zordan.
During our 3 hour ride along, Sergeant Canales and I only responded to a total 6 calls…none falling in the violent crime category. Chief Zordan says this is a common misconception citizens may have of what law enforcement does on a day to day basis.
“The violent crime elements seem to get the most attention, but it’s not. We got a lot more good people in this city than we do bad. But it’s our job that we keep all the bad ones in check,” said Zordan.
Instead, officers responded to a few disturbance at a local gas station and restaurant. Both times, officers had conversations with the individuals, took notes, and let them off with a warning. But other times, police have to do more than giving a warning.
“We have to mix that with protection and that’s what we do. We are law enforcement and that’s going to come first without that you can’t be safe and you can’t have peace.”