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Conference a boon to La. police chief

Chiefs at the Rural Law Enforcement Technology Institute offered to donate equipment to a cash-strapped department

The Center for Rural Development

NEW ORLEANS — The Rev. Kevin Billiot had never done any police work until April, when he was appointed chief of the department in little Montgomery, near the Kisatchie National Forest in central Louisiana. He found himself dealing with numerous complaints that his two full-time and three part-time officers had been rude to or even mistreated people.

He applied to the Rural Law Enforcement Technology Institute expecting pointers about the most reliable video cameras to mount on squad cars or to have his officers wear so he could check out the complaints. He also hoped that the conference, put on by a division of The Center for Rural Development in Somerset, Ky., would help him find grants to pay for the cameras.

“Any small town, their finances aren’t in good shape right now,” said Mayor Vera “Susie” Waters, who gets $265 a month as mayor and works full-time as office manager for two pharmacies. “Any kind of equipment we purchase, we rely strictly on grants. When we can get a donation of equipment it’s just a wonderful thing.”

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