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Ferriday Police Chief says he feels no respect
from The Concordia Sentinel
August 3, 2017 -

Ferriday Police Chief Arthur Lewis said at a meeting of local law enforcement and town officials at Ferriday Town Hall on Friday that if the Board of Alderman wants to terminate him to do so because he has had enough.

By the end of the meeting, Alderman Glenn Henderson told the chief he had his vote for termination after Lewis aired grievances about the department and Mayor Sherrie Jacobs. Lewis’ comments came as several law enforcement officers, the mayor and two aldermen listened.

“I have had enough of this,” Henderson exclaimed from the back of the meeting room as Lewis continued. “This is not the place to vent or air your dirty laundry. This is not the time or the place. This needs to be talked about behind closed doors. You need to shut this meeting down now.”

“I have served since July 16 (2016) and don't think I haven’t had enough,” Lewis responded. “I wanted to tell everyone collectively. And if the board wants me to resign, I will resign.

“After this you have got my vote (to resign),” Henderson said.

Jacobs appointed Lewis as police chief when she took office last July.

She had no comment after the meeting.

But the two have often butted heads, leading to Jacobs suspending Lewis for 30 days in December 2016, followed by two more 30-day suspensions in January and February.

Jacobs asked for Lewis to be terminated, but the board voted against that move.

The board discussed at its July meeting whether to provide back pay to Lewis for the three consecutive months he was suspended.

All board members agreed Lewis should be paid, but town attorney Myisha Davis advised asking for the opinion of the state attorney general’s office to avoid legal problems.

Alderwoman Gloria Lloyd and alderman Johnny Rip Woodruff voted against asking for the opinion, saying the board had the right to decide on paying Lewis back the money he was owed.

Lloyd and Woodruff said the board was never given a reason for Lewis being suspended, although Jacobs said after Lewis' second suspension that he was hiring too many people and spending too much money, as well as causing dissension at the department and going against Jacobs' requests, such as having meetings without her being present.

Henderson, Pryor and Chryl Lewis thought it would be best to take Davis’ advice and get an opinion.

Lloyd said it was about being fair and that nothing was fair in Ferriday.

“I’m just advising you what to do,” Davis said. “It’s your decision. But you asked me before to write a letter. I have the letter written.”

Davis read the letter to the board. Pryor said the letter was too vague and wanted it to state that the board wants to back pay Lewis.

Davis said she would add that to the letter and present letters to the board to look over before sending it to the AG office.

At Friday's meeting, Lewis talked about his love for his work, but was basically through with it.

“You have to have someone you can depend on,” Lewis said. “But you get forced to use uncertifiable people and uncertified personnel. I'm asking the board to terminate me even though I haven't been negligent or had any malfeasance. I'm asking you to let me do my job without any form of retaliation.”

Lewis said he was told by a cousin of Jacobs' that the sheriff's office was told to make an appearance when assisting the Ferriday Police Department but not to do anything as long as Arthur is chief.”

Lewis also talked about some of the tickets being given out by Ferriday police officers.

“If half the tickets given out to citizens were brought to city court they would be thrown out,” Lewis said.

Lewis also brought up an incident in which an uncertified female officer was left without assistance during an incident.

But Ferriday Investigator Sam King said the officer was not left by herself.

“That's a bald-faced lie,” King said.

Alderwoman Gail Pryor said Lewis deserved the respect of the people.

“No one in the police department needs to disrespect Chief Lewis,” Pryor said.

“I can assure you that not one Ferriday police officer disrespects Chief Lewis,” King said.

Lewis said he just wanted a chance to do his job.

“I want to do my job, but if I can't then please let me go,” Lewis said. “Every police department, sheriff's office and fire department needs structure. Someone has to be in charge. The mayor, she's the head official and she needs to know what's going on in the police department. But there needs to be somebody in the police department that's in charge. Guess what? She appointed me chief, the board solidified that and in Baton Rouge, I'm the chief. We can't get around that.”

Lewis related a story of a police department meeting at Town Hall.

“Y'all (officers) were called in and Sam basically gave y'all the checks. Sam ain't the chief, I'm the chief. I'm in control of that police department until the mayor goes through the board that she no longer wants me and the board votes me out.”

Lewis questioned some of the officers about their status.

“I don't mean to hurt anyone's feelings, but where did you get your training from — Magnum P.I, Kojak, Hawaii 5-0?” Lewis said. “You have to be the jury, judge and executioner.”

Lewis said he feels he has no respect.

“There is no chain of command, no consequences and no consistency on things we need to do, but yet some of you still thought you were a policeman,” he said. “I know the meaning of being a policeman.”


Story provided by the Concordia Sentinel.

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