Mayor Jamie Mayo wants Monroe voters to rest assured that if they’re concerned about crime in the city, they shouldn’t fret. He’s got it covered.

To combat crime, Mayo will implement a new initiative called “Operation Ceasefire.” During a news conference on New Year’s Day, Mayo announced that “Operation Ceasefire” would be his administration’s focus in 2020, which coincidentally is an election year in Monroe. Mayo is a candidate for re-election. He’s seeking his sixth term in office.

First implemented in Boston, Massachusetts in the late 1990s and later adopted in cities across the country, “Operation Ceasefire” generally focuses on reducing gang violence, imposing stiffer penalties for gun law violations and deploying other crime deterrence strategies. Mayo said his “Operation Ceasefire” would target no specific group or individuals. Instead, it would represent a broader initiative to combat crime in general. However, Mayo offered no specifics about what the city or the Monroe Police Department might do to tackle Monroe’s crime problem.

That begs the question: Why does the city need to adopt “Operation Ceasefire?”

It was not too long ago that Mayo went to great lengths to dispel any notion that crime posed a problem in the city and often claimed crime in Monroe was on the decline. He bristled at questions concerning crime and often criticized the media, specifically this newspaper, whenever he was asked a question about crime. Just last week at his news conference on Jan. 1, Mayo characterized this newspaper’s questions as an affront to the community, a challenge to his noble intentions and a disgrace to the sacred holiday, New Year’s Day.

The crime rate statistics for the city of Monroe, which were compiled and submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation by Monroe Police, showed violent crime dropped by 38 percent in 2018. Yet, here’s a sobering statistic: There were no less than 14 homicides in Monroe in 2019. At least that’s the number of homicides we know of.

As the incumbent mayor with broad support in southern Monroe, the mayor’s race is Mayo’s to lose, especially if voting in the mayor’s race breaks along racial lines. Mayo is black. Nearly 65 percent of Monroe’s population is black. Which is why Mayo’s “Operation Ceasefire” announcement last week was so baffling.

Clearly Mayo considers Monroe’s crime problem his Achilles heel. Otherwise, why would Mayo — all of a sudden — declare crime a primary concern for his administration.

Let’s cut out the yak and call a spade a spade. Mayo’s “Operation Ceasefire” represents nothing but political grandstanding in an election year. Nothing more, nothing less.

Sadly, he’ll get away with it.

(1) comment


Re: Mayo’s Achilles heel

Crime is growing during Mayor Mayo’s watch (2001-2020). There has been ample time to get things moving in a better direction.

Yes, six terms in office is a long time…in the mind of most citizens.

No, six terms in office is not a long time…if you are a politician.

Mr. Mayo has been building his Monroe fiefdom ever since he was appointed interim mayor in 2001. And fiefdom is the correct description. Mr. Mayo has leveraged the power of government, demographics, and lack of strong political challengers to continue in office. He is a savvy politician.

Has that time in office been net positive for Monroe? Debatable I think. Treading water is the best (most gracious) opinion. A mixed result.

Monroe should be bursting with economic and cultural activity due to having assets of: the beautiful Ouachita River , good medical services, ULM University, Delta Community College (trained work force), I-20 corridor location, rail connections, regional airport. Does the zoo (Louisiana Purchase Gardens ) still count? Does the Civic Center?

Crime increase, infrastructure decay, blight, reluctance of leadership to transparency (belligerence to questioning) , negate the assets.

Monroe needs fresh leadership. NE Louisiana needs Monroe to prosper.

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