Picayune Police address concerns of residents

Published 11:36 pm Saturday, June 2, 2007

The Picayune Police Department held the first of a series of community forums to meet community members face to face to address any concerns residents may have.

Soon to be a quarterly event, the first of the meetings was held at the St. Matthew Church in the Goodyear Community. Councilman Donald Parker said about 25 community members were in attendance and discussed issues such as speeding, possible drug activity and loud music with the police department and city officials.

“The meeting to me was real profitable,” Parker said. “The citizens had a chance to make their concerns known to the police department.”

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One resident in attendance, Jimmie Jackson Sr., said it was a good chance for him and others in the area to address long standing concerns they have had. One of the biggest issues involved speeding on Neal Road. Parker said that after Hurricane Katrina, a number of speed limit signs were missing but City Manager Ed Pinero is working to resolve the problem.

Since the forum Jackson said he has seen an increased police presence in the Goodyear Subdivision.

Deputy Chief David Ervin said the police presence was in response to the speeding but is also to dissuade criminal activity that may be taking place in the area.

Loud music emanating from vehicles was another complaint shared at the forum, Jackson said.

“It seems like they’re not playing it for the people in the car, it seems like they are playing it for the people in the house,” he said.

Jackson said he mentioned another complaint to the officers dealing with improper parking at the park off Neal Road. He said he has noticed the younger drivers will park their vehicles next to and around the basketball court, as opposed to the designated parking area.

Jackson said he gathered from the forum that it appears as though the department wants to meet the needs of residents in the community.

To inform the community of the forum, Ervin said he and Pinero went out and left flyers at homes and talked to residents about two days prior to the event.

At the forum, Ervin said he, Parker, Pinero, Chief Jim Luke and staff officers had an opportunity to talk to the community about their concerns.

“It was a good communication line between the community and the city as a whole,” Ervin said. “Hopefully it’s going to help us be more productive as law enforcement and a city as a whole.”

Future meetings will be held on a quarterly basis and the community will know of them in much the same manner as this one, with flyers and visits from officers and city officials, Ervin said. They are not planning to announce meetings through the local media.

Meetings are planned to take place in evenings, from 5-7.

Ervin said he thanks community members who showed for the last meeting.

“As law enforcement, we really depend on the eyes and ears of the citizens of our community,” Ervin said.