Sharing a name with former Denham Springs Police Chief Paul “Scott” Jones, who was fired Thursday, has given one Denham Springs businessman a unique perspective on the life of the guy who served in the department for more than 35 years, including two stints as chief.
Businessman Scott Jones said being listed in the phone book under the same name everyone knew the chief by meant he often received phone calls and messages intended for the guy working for the Police Department.
“I got his phone calls at 3 o’clock in the morning, at 11 o’clock at night,” he said. “I got to see the side that most people never get to see: people harassing him, people threatening him and his family, his property. I’ve seen it my whole life. I’ve also seen the incredible compassion the man has for people.”
The businessman, who was among more than two dozen people to speak on the police chief’s behalf at a packed Denham Springs council meeting on Thursday, said he was a young boy — perhaps 2 or 3 years old — when he first met the police chief at a football game. The chief went up to him as he played near the end zone, got down on his knee to talk to him and gave the boy a spent pistol cartridge, the businessman recalled Thursday.
“It meant something to me for a lot of reasons, but it was the beginning of what I saw over 30 years of him investing in people,” he said of the chief.
The chief again invested in the man who shared his name when the latter was a teenager, going to college but headed down a dangerous path.
“He showed that teenager there’s another way and encouraged him to be all he could be,” the businessman told the City Council on Thursday. “He showed him grace. That person was me. In 1993. And I’ll forever be grateful for him. … And I ask you to show him grace.”
The council voted 4-1 to support Mayor Gerard Landry’s decision to fire the police chief after an internal investigation into the Police Department’s handling of a domestic violence call involving a city councilman revealed the case was not treated in the same manner as other similar cases.
Time to dump trash hauler in Port Allen?
Some members of the Port Allen City Council think it might be time to dump who’s been picking up the city’s garbage for the past five years and bring in a new vendor .
Councilman Garry Hubble asked city leaders during committee meetings this week to consider opening up the bidding process for the city’s third-party garbage contract, which is held by Progressive Waste Solutions.
“I know all of us have had a continual stream of complaints on trash service. Our contract ends in July. Maybe we should look into fielding other companies,” Hubble said.
City officials said they’ve had to deal with calls from residents complaining about missed pickups and garbage trucks leaving behind trails of garbage in the streets during routes.
Councilman R.J. Loupe suggested piggybacking on West Baton Rouge Parish’s contract with Republic Services — a discussion they’ve had before because they thought it might be a cheaper solution.
“It wouldn’t hurt for us to sit down and talk with them about it,” Councilman Hugh “Hootie” Riviere responded.
Progressive Waste Solutions has contracts with several municipalities on the west side.
Pointe Coupee Parish Police Juror Justin Cox recently tried to get the Police Jury to entertain a similar discussion over its contract with Progressive Waste. But the topic was referred to committee instead.
Aside from better service, Port Allen officials are hoping going out to bid might cut costs as well for twice-a-week pickup.
“I know that no one is going to be perfect. I just wanted to throw that out there because we’ve had a rash of complaints,” Hubble said.
Holden rejects grant request for north BR
East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden has rejected giving $100,000 to a group of activists who wanted the money to study health care and economic development in north Baton Rouge.
Parish Metro Councilwoman Chauna Banks-Daniel, who created the task force last month, confirmed Holden said he wouldn’t allocate the money.
The group, called #NBRNOW Blue Ribbon Commission, includes professors at Southern University, community organizers, business owners and north Baton Rouge advocates.
Council members cannot request money from the city-parish budget without going through the Mayor’s Office. If the Mayor’s Office approves the request, it then goes on the Metro Council agenda and the council members weigh whether they should approve it.
When Banks-Daniel announced the creation of the commission and the request for $100,000, she said decisions had not been made yet on how the money would be spent.
Gary Chambers, the commission’s co-chairman, said during the announcement that the request was meant to signify investment in north Baton Rouge, given the incentives given to developers in other parts of the city-parish.
“This is simply another sign that Mayor Holden believes he isn’t obligated to do anything to improve north Baton Rouge,” Chambers wrote on his website, TheRougeCollection.net, after funding for the group was rejected.
William Daniel, the city-parish chief administrative officer, said the city-parish already has invested $278,000 for the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority to come up with plans to improve north Baton Rouge.
The commission issued a statement saying they are again asking to meet with Holden about the funding. “In that north Baton Rouge currently has no ER in case of emergency to aid Police, Fire, and EMS services, the commission’s mission to address healthcare and economic development is necessary to aid your path to success at servicing the residents of East Baton Rouge Parish,” they wrote.
Advocate staff writers Heidi R. Kinchen, Terry L. Jones and Andrea Gallo contributed to this article.