Gonzales Police chief-elect Jackson looks to avoid BR-type crime

Wade McIntyre
Sherman Jackson, center, who was recently elected the first black police chief in Gonzales history, was guest speaker at Tuesday’s Rotary Club of Gonzales meeting. He is joined by Club President Mark LaCour, left, and Rotarian Brett Hughes.

Gonzales Police Chief-elect Sherman Jackson said Tuesday he hopes to spare the city from the rash of crime problems faced by police and citizens in neighboring Baton Rouge.

Speaking at a Rotary Club of Gonzales meeting, Jackson said the state’s capital city is suffering increased crime trends due to the activities of recent generations of residents who have “no respect for themselves or anyone else.”

While he called the Baton Rouge Police Department one of the best in the state, he said police there are suffering from the magnitude of the problem.

“Our job is to keep a generation without values from coming to Gonzales,” he said.

Jackson promised that Gonzales police will begin conducting sting operations using shared cameras, equipment and manpower in cooperation with other area police departments.

The goal will be to make good court cases against those charged in drug buys to help clean up city streets, he said.

Jackson plans to build upon a tactical plan developed by Police Chief Bill Landry which has reduced Gonzales crime in areas known as Chinatown located off Cornerview Road.

Before the plan was implemented in 1994, “you couldn’t just send one unit into Chinatown without backup,” Jackson said. “I can tell you there are good citizens in Chinatown who don’t want drugs in their neighborhood.”

Currently, Gonzales has a police officer attached to the Drug Enforcement Agency who Jackson wants assigned to work on drug issues in the city every day.

“Really and truly, we can’t have a party in Gonzales because they (partygoers) want to fight and shoot,” he said.

Jackson’s first task will be to implement a reorganization of the police department ranking structure in order to improve officer accountability. He said he also plans to drastically change policy and procedures in the department in order to hold officers accountable on paper.

Jackson stressed he understands the importance of the business community as an anchor to the greater community.  He said he will meet with business leaders to find out business concerns, while working closely with police department personnel assigned to different parts of the city.

Jackson, who takes office in January, indicated plans for a new police department facility that will be efficient and effective are in the making.

“I can’t wait to be part of it,” he said.