SPD ready to reduce crime

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 28, 2004

With 2004 coming to a close, the Selma Police Department is making an effort to ensure that the city will be a safer place in 2005.

There were 13 murders committed this year, with a far greater number of reported shootings that involved injuries.

Selma’s first murder of 2004 occurred on Jan. 19, when Lizzie Mae Lewis, 41, was arrested in connection to the stabbing death of Roosevelt Johnson Jr., 46, at the Craig Motel on Highway 80 East.

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The last murders of the year took place during the early morning hours of Nov. 7, when Antonio Boggin, 21 of White Hall, and Robert Fails, 22 of Selma, were both killed during a shoot-out at “D Night Spot.” Eight other people were injured during the incident.

Interim Selma Police Chief Bobby Jacobs said last week that nearly all the murders committed in Selma were solved within “days or hours after the crime occurred.”

Jacobs said this is partly attributed to the work of patrol officers, who are usually the first to respond on the scene and provide assistance to investigators.

The police department has a number of highly trained and dedicated officers, Jacobs said, and they will putting forth all their efforts to reduce the amount of violent crimes committed in Selma.

“We’ve finally gotten to the point where all the vacant slots have been filled,” Jacobs said. “We have been able to recruit some of the finest personnel who have years of experience. They come here wanting to be the best. You can see it in their faces when they take the oath.”

Jacobs said he and Assistant Chief Jimmy Martin have several plans they intend to carry out in order to make 2005 a safer year for citizens.

Included among them is a plan to improve the image of the police department after a year of internal bickering and job changes that included the demotion of former Chief Robert Green.

“We want people to know we have a positive police department,” Jacobs said. “We are working more closely with other agencies and we want to bring back comfort and security to our citizens.”

Another plan involves an increase in the number of officers patrolling city streets.

Additional patrols along downtown Selma and other business areas began this month in order to curb theft.

“Citizens are going to be seeing a lot more law enforcement presence,” Jacobs said.

Officers have also begun making random visits to Selma nightclubs to check for underage patrons, occupancy violations and unruly crowds.

Martin and Jacobs said they would also like to hire additional officers and create a Major Incident Unit, which would be compose of highly trained officers who would be called upon to respond in critical situations.

“We are going to use all the resources we possibly can to protect the citizens of Selma,” Jacobs said.