Thursday, February 25, 2010

Plan to save GM jobs.

The drive to save hundreds of Shreveport General Motors jobs is speeding up.

Wednesday the automaker announced the Hummer brand sale to a Chinese company failed. Workers hoped the deal would keep our facility open longer. GM says Shreveport’s plant could close in the coming months.

Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins joins us live in the studio, with more on a plan to not only save jobs, but boost our local economy as well.

There's a lot we can do with the plant if GM leaves. Leaders say some creative options could keep work for hundreds of families here in Shreveport.

“I got to go where life says I got to go." General Motors worker Jo Gates knows the end of the line is near. The Hummer sale to a Chinese company failed. Demand for Shreveport’s other brands, the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado, is down. GM says the plant will close no later than June 2012. “June 2012 will come quickly."

Leaders are preparing. This morning, Caddo parish attorney Charles Grubb participated in a conference call held by the Louisiana secretary of economic development. Grubb says state leaders are strategizing ways to keep jobs in Shreveport after GM pulls out. “The bottom line is we are all optimistic that other uses will be found for this plant."

The plant is owned by Motors Liquidation, after the automaker filed bankruptcy. Grubb says the liquidation company has a government obligation, to help find a new tenant. “Whatever we need to do to get other uses for plant."

The uses range from any manufacturing, not just auto.
Grubb says one large company could use the facility or several businesses. “That plant has a lot of things going for it." Like location, it's close to rail access, and interstate highways.
The parish says it could even offer tax incentives to lure business
And save jobs; about 970 people work at the plant, according to
United auto workers president Doug Ebey. “It's going to affect their families. Neighborhoods, you'll see signs going up for sale. People's houses and property values will go down."

Gates say she's already leaving Shreveport, to transfer to an Indiana plant. “I want to stay with GM."

Not just GM employees are affected. About 450 people work for six local auto industry suppliers. 30 percent of their business was with Hummer. The Shreveport supplier union president says no word on any layoffs yet.

General Motors has a long history in Shreveport. Back in 1970 Caddo parish donated the land where the plant was built. Then twenty years later in 1990, the parish donated more land for the plant's expansion, and 7 years ago, in 2003, Shreveport GM started building hummer.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

GM Hummer Deal Fails, Shreveport workers react

General Motors’ attempt to sell its Hummer brand to a Chinese "heavy equipment maker" fell through. GM and the Chinese company, ended talks today after it failed to get final approval from the Chinese government.

Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins joins us live with how this will affect hundreds of workers in Shreveport.

Shreveport's United Auto Workers president Doug Ebey says a number of GM workers could get laid off in the coming weeks, but not due to the Hummer deal falling through.

Instead, because demand for Shreveport’s other brands, the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado is down. Shreveport already stopped making Hummer in January.
About 970 people work at our plant.

GM told Nbc 6 its figuring out on a plan for workforce reduction. Ebey says he’s not sure how many people could lose their jobs or even when. "We've been trying to put pressure on GM and Detroit to tell us something, give us something definite to tell our people because people's lives are at stake here," Ebey says.

“We're somber anytime a place closes your heart goes out to family friends,” GM worker Jo Gates says.

Ebey says Shreveport workers can apply to transfer to other GM plants that are increasing production.

GM says it has no plans to bring a new brand to Shreveport. The company told Nbc 6 Shreveport’s plant is scheduled to close no later than June 2012.

Monday, February 22, 2010

More women suit up as police.

Shreveport police is training 22 new officers. Chief Henry Whitehorn addressed the new recruits today.
The academy will last until June. These officers will undergo rigorous training, from sharp shooting to physical fitness.

The job of policing the streets can be strenuous and dangerous. Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins discovered more women are "taking that risk" to keep you safe.

The guns, danger and action: policing the streets was once seen as a male-dominated profession.
Now, when you call for help, there's a good chance a woman will come to your rescue. Sgt. Laura Sorrells is one of 98 lady officers for the Shreveport police department. She joined 17 years ago. She says more women are suiting up these days. “The economy has a role to play, but with the new era of females coming out the mindset is different."

Shreveport has highest percentage of female officers in the Arklatex.
18 percent of SPD cops are women. More than double the percentage of Texarkana Texas (7%) and Bossier City (6%), even higher than Dallas (16%).

Some women who ride in these cars, don't stick with the job. Since 2007, 33 percent of women SPD hired have left, for many reasons. “The mother instinct: a lot of them might be mothers and they see crimes against children It's hard to get rid of the nightmares," Sorrells says.

Women can do any job on the police force. Physical fitness requirements are determined by age and gender. “I know others are larger. I can definitely hold my own. You have to use your brain. It's not just physical strength," new recruit Heather Boucher says. “You just have to prepare yourself to come in like everyone else and get the job done," new recruit Tiffany Reynolds says.

Heather Boucher and Tiffany Reynolds are the two newest recruits. Spd's history of female officers started in 1977. Assistant chief of police Cheryl Jeter holds the second highest rank in the department. She joined in 1981. “The ones who came before me set the precedent," Sorrells says--that anyone can rise to the top, regardless of race or gender.

Spd says it’s looking for more qualified applications to sign up. The next Shreveport police academy starts in July. You can apply now. The deadline is March 8th. Visit the department at 1234 Texas Ave, Shreveport to pick up an application.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Doctors click iphones to diagnose patients

Cell phones are being used for more than just talking.
Doctors are now using iPhones to help diagnose patients. But is the practice safe?
Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins found why doctors say this technology can improve your medical care.

When you walk in to see your doctor, don't be offended if he pulls out a cell phone. Apple reports 70 percent of doctors use iPhones. The handheld is part of your treatment, with more than 1,500 medical applications. “It's really good to look on there. I'm a new patient and if he's not familiar with me he can look in just one second," Red River parish resident Jack Huckabee says.

With just a click, Dr. Steen Trawick checks drug interactions, making sure the medicine he prescribes won't harm the patient. “We've always had information in books to cross check but that would take forever."
If you call your doctor in pain, Trawick says some physicians can access your medical history right away, in their pocket. “I can click patient on the phone and pull of a lab chest x-ray." If a phone gets into the wrong hands, Trawick says patients’ personal information is always protected by password.

“I think the reason this has exploded in the last few years is because the iPhone has become a ubiquitous tool." Dr. Mark Platt speaks at national Apple conventions about how doctors incorporate iPhones.

As the Asst. Dean of Students at LSU medical school in Shreveport, he's bringing the technology to the classroom, with interactive anatomy diagrams and video lectures.

Lsu physician assistant student Shannon Spaw uses her handheld as a reference to diagnose patients.
She compares healthy and abnormal images. “Having a reference to bring graphical images and written text to be sure of their decision is clearly going to save lives,” Platt says.

Platt says Lsu medical school in Shreveport is researching new iphone applications to incorporate into the curriculum for medical students next fall.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Animals end up in crowded cages.

Animals without a home are ending up in crowded cages. A local parish shelter says the overcrowding is putting helpless puppies at risk of infection and disease. Nbc 6 news reporter Karen Hopkins found action to improve conditions and what you can do to help.

This dog is too violent to share a cage. The majority of stray puppies live huddled together in one kennel. The Caddo parish animal shelter is about 20 years old. An outdated ventilation system leaves germs in the air, this puppy could breathe in helplessly. “It's our job to provide a voice for those who can't speak for themselves."

Director Matthew Pepper says while the shelter meets all state sanitation requirements, that's not good enough. Disease spreads easily through close contact, "hacking cough, running nose, discharge in eyes."

Giving each animal more space isn't an option. The Caddo parish animal shelter stays more than full-- at 200 percent capacity. “We have a capacity issue. We are looking seriously at. We will have to make decisions in the near future on how we will address that issue."

Caddo administrator Woody Wilson says the animal control budget has no money to expand.
May 1st. people can vote on a $25 million bond issue for parish wide improvements. If the bond is approved, the commission could dedicate money for a new shelter. “We are listening to what the community is saying. We have a lot of animal activists groups."

Pepper says the staff is doing everything to give these animals hope.
In the past two years, adoptions have increased 64 percent and euthanasia has dropped 15 percent.
"They are living creatures. We have an obligation to protect them."

Investing in a new shelter, Pepper says, will give more animals a chance at a healthy life and an opportunity to become someone's best friend.

Anyone can adopt a new animal friend. The shelter keeps on average, about 200 pets.
Nbc 6 looked into the costs of building a new shelter. The figure reaches the millions.
Desoto parish is building one for $3 million. Memphis, Tennessee is spending $9 million.

If adopting a pet is something you decide to do, there's a non-profit group that can help you spay and neuter your animal at a low cost. Robinson's Rescue in Shreveport wants to reduce or eliminate euthanasia. The group would like the parish to build a new animal shelter and have the rescue located next door. That way people could adopt and neuter in one location.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shreveport General Motors plant loses work.

Shreveport's General Motors plant will shut down for an extra two weeks. The plant manager, Michael Dulaney, tells Nbc 6 the reason is because demand for the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon is down.

The two additional weeks are for May 3rd and May 10th. Workers will receive supplemental pay during the shutdown.

"We understand the plant is struggling and has to do what it can to catch up with inventory," GM worker James Ford says.

"I didn't think about it because I've been here long enough to know that could change," GM worker Shirley Hunter says.

Dulaney says if more people start buying Shreveport made trucks the plant could increase production.

Parish turns away 100 jobs over community concerns

“I'm upset we turned away 100 jobs and I don't understand it," Caddo commission president John Escude says. Outrage is brewing over a decision to pass up economic development at a time when many people are searching for work. A trucking company wanted to drive in business. But Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins spoke with people who say the deal was too dangerous.

“Someone could fall asleep at the wheel and come barreling through here." Gaysha Triggs doesn’t want a major trucking company down the street from her son's daycare. She says the road's too narrow for semis. One accident could cost lives. “We have accidents there all the time. We don't know what material they would bring in, whether it's explosive."

Quality Transport moves cement and liquid petroleum. The Baton Rouge company wanted to buy 35 acres off Woolworth road in Caddo parish. The expansion would bring a hundred jobs, in trucking, mechanic and administrate positions.

"Of course I want jobs, but this is not the place for them." Caddo parish commissioner Ken Epperson introduced a plan to block any industrial company from building on the site, near daycares and churches.
The commission approved the ordinance in a close vote. “The parish itself is in good fiscal shape, but that doesn't mean our citizens are. People are out there hurting, struggling, having hard times,” Escude says.

“I'm not going to put a business where it's incompatible for the residents. There's no way I will do that."
Instead, Epperson says he'll work to turn the site into a park, giving these children a safe place to play, while attracting families to live and pay property taxes here.

The trucking company will not be able to build at another Caddo location. Leaders say the parish doesn’t have another site big enough for sale.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Historic Snow Storm

Shreveport gets most snow in about ten years!

State cuts medical services for veterans.

The people, who put their lives on the line for the safety of our country, are losing medical services because of Louisiana state budget cuts. But a battle is brewing to keep the care our veterans say they so desperately need.

Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins spoke with people outraged over putting a price on our veterans' lives.

“How can you put money over lives?" Nikki Hayward says state budget cuts could put her best friend's life at risk. Ruth stone is one of 147 residents at the Northwest Louisiana War Veterans home.
She served 21 years active duty army. After suffering a double stroke, she has no voice.
“That could be me in there, and then I’d be looking to someone else to talk for me."

Louisiana faces nearly a billion dollar budget shortfall.
A state streamlining committee looked at the efficiency of all agencies and made recommendations on cuts. In response, the Department of Veterans Affairs eliminated in house pharmacies and nurse practitioners in the state's 5 veteran homes to save $1.5 million. “The family members are concerned of all the changes, the pharmacy is a big issue,” Northwest Louisiana War Veterans home administrator Byron Hines says.

The pharmacy closed last week. The shelves are already empty. If veterans need emergency medication, they'll have to order from a local pharmacy at a high price. “For Ruth it's not too bad, but for others it could be devastating. They might not have the money."

The home will lay off its only nurse practitioner Friday. Thirty-three nurses will remain, but
the practitioner has more training and can diagnose problems before it’s too late. “If it's eroded with budget cuts, who is going to look out for her? I can't."

Caddo parish commissioner Ken Epperson wants to send a resolution to the governor and legislators opposing the cuts. The budget isn't final. Lawmakers could restore funding. “Veterans should be the last ones to cut. We can find some other means instead of cutting services for our veterans."

Hayward says these veterans have already given up a lot and shouldn't have to sacrifice more.
“Lord knows there's enough people in here who have lost limbs."

The Northwest Louisiana War Veterans home opened in April of 2007. The nursing home has 156 beds. Veterans pay about $16,644 a month to stay.

Hayward writes:
"Wow what a great job you did on the editing, and the filming, and everything!!! Thank you, thank you for Ruth, thank you for all the patients, all the staff, all the patients' families, and for all those vets who may end up in this facility in the future!!! Fantastic job by Karen and Shane, AND Michelle!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bollywood Film Festival at Robinson

The Louisiana Bollywood Film Festival kicks off this Saturday at the Robinson Film

The two week event will feature Indian movies...

Saturday night I went to the kickoff party with friends and my family who came from Cincinnati to visit. We danced to Indian music and met wonderful people! Many women wore beautiful saris, in turquoise, red, purple. I enjoyed the cultural experience in Shreveport! did my cousin and uncle!

If you haven't visited the Robinson, you're missing out. We're lucky to have such a neat center in Shreveport.

The Louisiana Bollywood Film Festival will be held at The Robinson Film Center February 13-February 21. Film selections for the festival range from the biggest hit in the history of the Indian film industry (1975's Sholay) to more recent films like A Wednesday!, Water, and The Namesake. The festival will also feature an opening night reception on Saturday, February 13 at 7:00 PM. The opening night reception will include authentic Indian cuisine, Bollywood music provided by DJ Abid Nazeer, and clips from the festival films. Dress is evening casual or Indian attire. Reception tickets are $50 each and are now on-sale at The Robinson Film Center or by calling (318) 797-5179 (credit card only if ordering by phone).

For a full listing of film programs and showtimes, click the "Showtimes" tab below. Normal Robinson Film Center ticket prices apply.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Most energy efficient building in the South, coming to Shreveport

An Arklatex city is developing the most energy efficient building in the south. Architects say the masterpiece will attract thousands of visitors, boosting the local economy.

In tonight’s Arklatex Green Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins discovered how the green building could renew a community.

Shattered glass, it looks like an abandoned high rise without much hope. Bobby Walker passes it every day. “I have no idea what the city plans to do with this building.”

A major transformation. The building will become the greenest, most energy efficient, in the entire south.

It will house the Community Renewal training center. People from around the world will stay there, and learn strategies to improve communities by reducing crime and poverty. “People from all over the world will come here to see what's been done in Shreveport."

Lead architect Kim Mitchell says the makeover will cost $70 million.
Tax credits could cover $54 million, the rest of the funding comes through donations. Mitchell says construction could start within a year. “It's Shreveport growing its own corporate head quarters for a new industry."

The hybrid green building will use a combo of solar, geothermal, and wind. The power generated will lower its energy bill 60 percent. “Community Renewal is about renewing the community, which means being sustainable."

A filtration system will recycle all water used for showers and even hand washing.
The building will collect rain to water plants. And on the roof, a garden will grow food and teach urban agriculture. “I think you have to set an example for everybody and Shreveport is taking the initiative. Maybe other little cities in Louisiana could do the same thing," Walker says.

Mitchell says the green investment will benefit, everyday people like walker, by attracting thousands to spend time and money in Shreveport.

The petroleum company donated the tower to Shreveport. The city had to remove asbestos first, about a year ago.

"Art a la Carte" visit Artspace!

Neat exhibit at Artspace. You can check out "Art a la Carte" until March 6th.
The show features what regular people can do, creatively, away from their usual jobs and home-life and volunteer duties -- "off the menu," so to say.
Shreveport, renowned artist Bill Joyce, juried the show.

Also..on the same floor with us at Artspace, there's a marvelous tribute to overcoming the Depression. Lucienne Simon got it together, and she called it "Harbingers of Hope in Hard Times."

I enjoy visiting art shows. It helps keep life in perspective and can challenge you to look at the world in a different perspective. Go support artspace! Do something different. Reach outside your box! -Karen

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bossier to open multi-million dollar fire station.

The Bossier City riverfront attracts thousands each day to casinos and the boardwalk. Now the city, struggling with a major budget shortfall, is investing millions to keep you safe. Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins joins us live from the new Bossier City fire station.

The station is high tech, and take the largest in Bossier City. It’s a huge improvement from the old station. The fire chief says it could save lives.

Fire driver Matt Lauterbach rushes to help people in need. He knows firsthand, the trauma of a family emergency. “I lost my mom when I was 22. This is the same fire department that worked on her. After I saw what these guys did, I said I got to be part of this force."

He now works at the busiest station in Bossier City. Built in 1957, it's nearly 60 years old. Times have changed. The station answered 300 more calls last year, compared to ten years ago. "We make a lot of responses to the casinos you've got thousands of people each week in there."

To keep up, Bossier City will replace the old facility. The new fire station number 6 cost $3.5 million.
Although Bossier faces budget shortfalls, the money came from casino taxes. The city uses the revenue only for building projects.

The old garage was too small, Chief Sammy Halpen points out the new one can fit a ladder truck to reach people in high rise casinos. “One bad event could affect thousands of lives in one building. We have those. We have to be prepared for that."

The city also invested in this high tech filtration system. It removes toxins brought in from fire trucks.
“They don't have to inhale anything harmful."

This is Bossier's first fire station with pole. “I like the tradition behind it, I think it's cool."
Fire driver Chris Dison says a station is like a home, he lives there while waiting for calls. "We're like family" The family will move from tight sleeping quarters to individual rooms, and from a cramped kitchen to a spacious one. “We're going to do the job no matter where we work."

The firefighters will move in here by the end of the month. It's location, near I-20 and the parkway makes it easy for firefighters to help other departments during major emergencies. The city says having this new station will attract other businesses to build in Bossier.

Another new, state of the art, fire station is already in the works. Station number 5, along Swan lake road should be complete by next year. A bond issue funded the construction of the station to keep up with the growth of cyber innovation.

Monday, February 8, 2010

People fight for city cash

People are fighting for city cash. Shreveport has $2.2 million up for grabs in unspent bond money. The city council held a meeting tonight to give citizens a voice.

Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins spoke with another group, scrambling to save a historic church from destruction.

St. Paul United Methodist church is the oldest African American church in Shreveport. It was established in 1865 shortly after the end of slavery.
Chairman Alvin Kirk say a flooding problem could wash away history. "If you don't know where you've come from, it's hard for you to plan where you're going."

Just steps from this historic church, is this drainage ditch, with heavy rains, it overflows into the church. Kirk says the drainage build-up started in the 1990s, after the construction of I-49 changed the way water flows. Water has poured into church basement three times. “There was mold, mildew in the air. We had to strip everything out of there."

City engineer Ron Norwood says Shreveport spent $145,000 to build a concrete flood wall and pump outside the church. Kirk says the repairs did nothing to stop high water. “In May of 2008, we had five feet of water in the church.”

“It's just a question of how far do you want to go to fix a drainage problem, how much money do you want to spend?" Norwood says an option is build a holding pond to divert the water. That could cost millions.

Kirk presented his case to city council. Shreveport has $2.2 million in unspent bond money. Kirk wants the leaders to invest in saving a landmark. “The foundation is getting weaker and weaker. It would be crushing to so many of the members."

Mayor Glover says, the city should use $300,000 of the unspent bond cash, for drainage projects. St. Paul’s United Methodist Church could receive some of that money.

Glover would like to spend the rest of the money on other city repairs.Government plaza has a leak problem. Glover wants to spend $1.3 million to fix the roof and replace the air conditioning,
$600,000 would go to renovate Riverview hall.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl and Domestic Violence

Homer officer cleared in shooting

Centaur Float Loading! Mardi Gras

There's more Mardi Gras fun next weekend. Friday, I'm going to the Krewe of Highland Bal, Saturday the Gemini parade and on Valentines day...Krewe of Highland parade!
Busy weekend of...good times! Come out and enjoy!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Woman found dead inside parked car

Shreveport police are searching for a killer tonight.

A woman was found dead inside her car parked in the cedar grove neighborhood.
Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins joins us live from the crime scene with more details on this gruesome discovery.

Police are not releasing the name of the woman killed yet. We have learned she was an active leader in the Shreveport community. She worked for a local non-profit.

People in the Wyngate area say they don’t feel safe at home, with a shooter on the loose.

“This guy's on the run right now we don't know if he's hiding in some bushes around here or what," Jazzmine Mcduffey says.

Shreveport officers say around 6:30 tonight on Wyngate boulevard, adriver saw an SUV stopped in the middle of the road facing the wrong direction. The person got out to check and found a woman dead inside. “An adult woman, suffered at least one gunshot wound to the upper body," Cpl. Bill Goodin.

If someone heard a gunshot, police say no one called to report it. "We can't like it, I didn't even hear a gunshot,” resident Quince Hallman says.

Detectives have taped up the crime scene and blocked off the streets.
Stephanie Jones was trying to reach her mom. “It made me nervous because I couldn't get down there. It's not a good feeling very uncomfortable. I don't like it but this is the only place she can live. She has to stay here a while.”

A crowd of curious neighbors gathered. People watched investigators hunt for a killer, just steps from their homes. “Is somebody going to be patrolling over here because I have three kids. I want to know that me and my kids are going to be safe, that somebody's going to be watching out for us.

“We're conducting neighborhood canvasses, with patrol officers and detectives as well, going door to door out here,” Cpl. Bill Goodin.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Parish could ban backpacks in schools.

A "heated debate" over a local school district trying to ban backpacks for thousands of students.

This, after Shreveport police arrested a 10-year old boy for taking a handgun to school in his backpack. It happened at Westwood elementary two weeks ago. Police took the weapon after another student alerted a counselor about the gun. The student is suspended, pending an on-going investigation.

Nbc 6 reporter Karen Hopkins found that incident could affect what your child is allowed to carry to school.

9-year-old Jaylen Collins packs his backpack every night. Next year he might have to leave it at home. The Caddo parish school board is looking into banning most backpacks, after a child recently brought a gun to school, hidden in a bag. Last year, 3 students brought guns to school disguised in backpacks. “I care about our children, employees, their safety. Something's got to be done, any baby could have been killed that day,” Bell says.

School board member Dottie Bell wants to allow only clear or see through backpacks for all students in Caddo parish, starting next year. The board will have to approve the plan.
“If we do clear backpacks, what about students who participate in cheerleading? They have bags for that. Are we going to make them carry clear ones?" Bonita Crawford says.
“I think see through back packs are a tool we can use. There is nothing wrong with see through back packs," Roy Murray says.

“Where do we draw the line? Anyone with an inclination to do something illegally will find a way to do it," Barry Rachal says.

“I don't know if it will work. Do they do it in other districts?"Charlotte Crawley says.

In Louisiana, Jefferson and Sabine parishes require clear backpacks, as well as, one school in east Baton Rouge parish. We found no studies showing if see through bags reduce violence.

“I really don't want people to see all things personal to me." Collins says if he hears of another child with something dangerous inside a backpack, he knows what to do. “Tell a grownup.”

The school board will vote on whether to ban most backpacks in two weeks.
The board is also looking into a plan to add more counseling to teach students how to resolve conflicts.

Monday, February 1, 2010

SPD can’t hire stimulus officers.

Shreveport police department is supposed to get a cut of federal stimulus money to bring in more than 20 additional officers. But as Nbc 6 news reporter Karen Hopkins found out, there is a catch that could prevent the city from seeing any money at all.

Officer Kimberly Washington does her best to answer calls for help. "We need more officers on the streets." Shreveport is about a 100 officers short for a city its size, according to a 2008 manpower study. “If it were one of my family members, and we don't have enough officers on the streets, if something happens it could be dramatic if another officer is handling another issue.”

Shreveport wants to add 27 new officers. The city was awarded stimulus cash to hire them. But, as of now, it can't use the money. “In order to apply for the grant funding we got to get back to our baseline,” assistant to the chief Duane Huddleston says.

The baseline is the number of police Shreveport must have. SPD needs 18 more cops before its eligible to hire with stimulus money. Assistant to the chief Duane Huddleston says keeping enough cops on the streets is tough.
“Between now and August how many people are going to leave? We don't know, so we're always looking for others to fill those holes."

The department holds two academies each year. Huddleston hopes enough qualified recruits will sign-up. The city has three years to take advantage of the federal funding. “We can normally extend that if we show a good faith effort that we've done everything we can to hire."

The stimulus pays for officers salaries and equipment, but the city will have to pay about $40,000 for each car. If the city can't afford new cars officers will share.

Huddleston says the most important thing is putting more officers, like Washington, on the streets to reduce crime and improve emergency response time.

The stimulus grant covers salaries for three years.
After that, the city picks up the tab. Shreveport has no payment plan yet.