VILLE PLATTE, LA — Leaders from every level of government discussing local issues and searching for solutions.
America’s top cop in Louisiana meeting with local leaders about the issues seen in Ville Platte and the surrounding areas.
“We are a small community, but we’re coming as one tonight,” event organizer Arthur Sampson told me.
This meeting of minds in Ville Platte started as a backyard barbeque idea and grew into a room full of mayors, police chiefs, attorneys, coming together to talk about justice and safety.
“We need help”, admitted the other event organizer Joe Lawrence. He hoped that coming together would start to solve some of the issues this area has seen.
“We’ve got a lot of kids on the streets where the district attorney could help us”, said Lawrence. “Some of the judges could help us. That’s what we’re looking for.“
Just last week, a Ville Platte teenager turned himself in for attempted murder. He’s in jail accused of shooting into a car and hitting a five-year-old in the leg.
To solve these issues like this, they’ve brought in the highest authority they know.
Donald Washington is the newest director of the U.S. Marshals, nominated by President Trump last year. Washington previously served as the U.S. Attorney for Western Louisiana.
He lived in Louisiana for 26 years and remembers the challenges this community faced.
“it typically revolved around race, sometimes gender…Issues between the police and the community”, Washington said about issues in the Ville Platte area.
One year ago, a federal investigation into unconstitutional arrests led to several changes and reviews in their Ville Platte policing. Washington says there is a tried and true way to solve these problems, “Most people just kinda bring you the problem. The hard part is actually sitting down, and talking to one another and finding out what our differences are and if they actually mean anything.”
He thinks leaders need to live by one rule to fix everything.
“I’m a firm believer that good leadership is the solution to all of our problems”, Washington told the crowd. “The rule I think of leadership is to love one another. If you can figure out how to make that rule apply in all your negotiations the community issues that sort, you can make a lot of progress.”