OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) — Opelousas police chief Martin McLendon says he often receives the blame for the officer shortage and lack of funding in the department, which he says is out of his control.

“Insurance, retirement, and salaries. I don’t control any of that,” said McLendon.

However, he says, the officers’ $13 per hour salary cannot increase if the city does not have the money to do it.

“The top brass in the department is already making the significant salary,” McLendon said. “So if we had to give them a raise then I wouldn’t have enough money to pay the man at the bottom or increase our number of officers.”

Both Chief McLendon and Opelousas City Marshal Paul Mouton agree that both departments could use more funding.

However, Marshal Mouton feels that the administration should do more.

Mouton says he constantly receives calls from concerned citizens in the city about their safety due to repeated gun violence.

Mouton said, “They are calling me every day. Asking what I can do to help them.”

He says most elderly residents he speaks with are terrified for their lives.

“A lady, 80 years old, she is scared a bullet will come in and hit her so she’s sleeping on the floor,” Mouton said.

Mouton thinks the increase in violence is because there are more criminals on the street than the department’s manpower can handle.

“If we had enough manpower where we could’ve teamed up together, we could cover more territory and stop crime,” Mouton said.

When he asks for an increase in pay, more officers, and better equipment, he says the issue is always a lack of funding.

“It’s short of money everywhere,” Mouton said. “I don’t feel like it’s a good policy to where we can’t protect the people in this city.”

News 10 reached out to Mayor Julius Alsandor regarding how funds are allocated within both departments. He directed us to the Opelousas Police Department to speak with Chief McLendon.