Following three unsolved murders, residents move for community oversight board for Port Allen Police
PORT ALLEN - There's a move afoot in Port Allen to create a community oversight board for the Port Allen Police Department from people in the community who aren't happy with them.
It comes after three murders in the past year and a half that have gone unsolved. Fatrell Queen was killed in November of 2017, and following his death there were rallies and calls for more action by the police department. Since Queen's murder, two more have occurred. All have gone unsolved.
Following the murders, Queen's mom Tara Snearl has pleaded for justice. The frustration spilled over to the council members. Last October, they took a rare step passing a unanimous resolution urging the police chief to ask for assistance with the Queen case.
"They put everything on inexperienced officers," Snearl said. "They apologized for that part, but that's about it."
Since Queen's death, there have been two more murders. None of the three have been solved. Port Allen has a population of 5,000, and it's an area that typically doesn't see this type of crime.
"The outcome of the investigation has not been forthcoming, and we haven't made an arrest or come close to making an arrest in these cases," Port Allen Mayor Richard Lee said.
Lee said he supports a citizen oversight board. If approved, that board would be made up of appointees by council members and would be able to ask questions to police that the public right now feels like they aren't answering.
Port Allen Police Chief Esdron Brown declined to do an on-camera interview, but he said he supports a citizen oversight board of the police. He said if it turns out to be something negative, nitpicky or something that the community uses to second guess all the decisions the police department makes... Then he's against it.
"The main thing that a board of this nature could do is bring that relationship that you don't have between the public and police department, and bridge that gap of mistrust or wrongdoing," Lee said.
The push to get this done came recently when a group approached the mayor. That group wants members of law enforcement and people in the community to make up the board. They are hoping to have special access to the police to ask questions.
As each day passes, the killers of three victims continue to roam free.
"I support it, because it keeps our agency transparent," Lee said. "It involves the public and the police department."
The issue is expected to be introduced Wednesday night at the council meeting.
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