Heated Clashes at Bogalusa Council

Published 11:15 pm Monday, December 18, 2023

BOGALUSA, La. — A tumultuous three-hour-long Bogalusa City Council meeting on Monday night was filled with overflowing attendees, heated debates, and controversial remarks. The meeting, which took place at the Bogalusa Courthouse at 5:30 P.M., was marked by a chaotic atmosphere where discussions frequently veered off course, and council members and citizens often spoke out of turn.

The key issue that dominated the evening was a resolution proposed by Mayor Tyrin Truong concerning the Bogalusa Police Department (BPD). The resolution aimed to establish a board to investigate cost-saving measures for the BPD, which is currently $600,000 over budget. This proposal was met with widespread concern among citizens and council members, with many interpreting it as a move towards defunding or disbanding the police force. The BPD’s presence was notably prominent at the meeting, with officers positioned in the front row and dispersed throughout the courtroom.

Council President Kenny Kellis’s response to requests from hallway attendees to adjust the microphone — advising them to “get your ears checked” — set the tone for an evening where decorum was often sidestepped. The proposal for the BPD cost-saving board faced strong opposition, and an amendment suggested by Councilwoman Danielle Keys, intended to balance the board’s composition, was rejected in a 2-4 vote, with Councilwoman Shelby Temples absent.

After prolonged, disorderly discussions, the council decided to table the resolution until the next meeting. Mayor Truong announced a freeze on BPD hiring, prompting a mass exit by officers. His comment thanking them for attending and instructing them to “patrol the streets” further heightened tensions.

In other developments, the council passed an ordinance to install card readers at the City of Bogalusa George R. Carr Memorial Airport and approved a $2.00 pay raise for the Bogalusa Fire Department in a 5-1 vote. An ordinance on transparency was not voted on or discussed.

Vice President Penny Douglas’s early departure was preceded by a confrontation with a citizen over the unauthorized posting of her photo on Facebook, highlighting the sensitivity surrounding privacy and public forums.

A community member also raised the issue of compliance with a city ordinance requiring citizens to bring in their trash cans on garbage collection days.

The next Bogalusa City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 2, 2024, at 5:30 p.m. at the Bogalusa Courthouse.

About Timothy Holdiness

Timothy Holdiness is a native of Louisiana and has been published in several state, national and international publications. He has earned two undergraduate degrees in Biology, most recently from Northwestern State University in 2022. Notably, Holdiness was the 2014 Microsoft Office Specialist United States Champion in PowerPoint 2010.

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