Bogalusa mayor asks governor for help from state police and National Guard to tackle crime; installing cameras

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 8:09 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 23, 2023 at 9:07 AM CST
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BOGALUSA, La. (WVUE) - Fresh off of being sworn into office earlier this month, Bogalusa Mayor Tyrin Truong is putting an early focus in his term on tackling crime in his city.

The 23-year-old first-time elected official announced at the end of last week that he sent a request to Gov. John Bel Edwards asking for help from state police and the National Guard in an effort to address crime in Bogalusa after the city experienced a violent rise in 2022.

READ MORE Bogalusa’s new mayor, Tyrin Truong, gets sworn into office

In a letter sent to Edwards, Truong said that the issue of violent crime is the “most pressing” his administration faces and referred to 2022 as statistically the “deadliest” year Bogalusa has experienced.

READ MORE 15-year-old killed at Bogalusa birthday party was football player, band member

“Less than four weeks into 2023, the city has already experienced three shootings with one person actually being struck by multiple bullets,” Truong said. “During one of the most recent shootings, Central Elementary School, was damaged by gunfire.”

Truong said that the police department and local leaders have been working diligently to patrol streets and address issues but more resources are needed to address the issue.

In an additional effort to fight crime, Truong also announced last week that his administration has secured funds to install crime cameras around the city.

“The administration has secured funding pledges for the installation of crime cameras from Superintendent Lisa Tanner and Bogalusa City Schools, Sheriff Randy Seal and the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office, State Senator Beth Mizell, State Representative Malinda White, Parish President Richard Ned Thomas and the Parish President’s Office,” a spokesperson from the mayor’s office said. “The City and Bogalusa Police are also working in collaboration with District Attorney Warren Montgomery on additional ways to decrease violent crime.”

The funding will go to installing cameras provided by Project NOLA, a nonprofit that works with individuals, associations, and municipalities to place cost-subsidized high-definition crime cameras, gunshot detectors, and license plate recognition cameras in needed areas. The command center is headquartered on the campus of the University of New Orleans.

Over the past year, Bogalusa was the subject of several notable homicides for a city with a population of about 10,000 people. In July 2022, Javorius Scott, a Bogalusa native and rapper with over one million followers, was killed in a double shooting, bringing a wave of attention to the small city near the Mississippi border. Later in the year, in October, a 15-year-old boy from Covington, was fatally shot outside the stadium of a football game between Bogalusa High and Jewel Sumner High. Police later said that the suspects were also from Covington.

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Prior to being sworn in, Truong called for the resignation of Police Chief Kendall Bullen after a federal lawsuit was filed by the family of a man that died while in police custody in December 2021.

READ MORE Bogalusa’s young mayor-elect calls for police chief to resign in wake of federal lawsuit

At that time, Truong said the tenure of police chief Kendall Bullen “has been marred with callousness, incompetence and a lack of transparency.”

District Attorney Warren Montgomery recently cleared the Bogalusa officers and Washington Parish Sheriff’s deputies involved in the incident of wrongdoing. Montgomery said that the evidence does not meet the standard for criminal prosecution.

“Based on all the information known to me involving the death of Eric Nelson while in police custody, no criminal charges will be brought at this time against law enforcement personnel involved in the incident,” Montgomery said in a press release on Jan. 20.

READ MORE Bogalusa officers cleared of wrongdoing after man died in custody following tasing

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