By Bonnie Culverhouse
When you think of a public servant, how often do you think of the City Marshal? Many people don’t know the job of a City Marshal, much less how he helps the community.
Two years ago, Dan Weaver, a retired City of Minden police captain and detective, saw what his good friend Randy Shelley accomplished as City Marshal over the years. That’s when he decided, with Shelley retiring, he would like to take the reins of Ward 1.
“We serve evictions, all civil papers pertaining to Ward 1 in Webster Parish,” Weaver said. “We take care of City Court, which is all misdemeanor charges that come through Minden, Dixie Inn and Dubberly.”
His office also executes bench warrants if a subject is FTA (Failure to Appear) for court.
Ward 1 encompasses a large area, from around four miles south of Cotton Valley, across to Claiborne, Bienville and Bossier parishes.
“We have three full-time and two part-time employees,” he said. “It’s a large area for a few people to cover.”
Since taking office, Weaver has applied a program to serve bench warrants.
“Before we come and try to find you, we send you a courtesy notice to let you know you do have a warrant,” he said. “Seven days after, just in case maybe you forgot, that’s when we start looking for you.”
There are around 2,000 persons with warrants dating back to 2010 just from Minden Police alone. Weaver said he has been “shocked” at how many FTA’s have called or gone online to settle.
In order to give his office more visibility, Weaver has purchased uniforms and cars for his employees to use on the job.
The City Marshal’s office is funded by the City of Minden and Webster Parish Police Jury. He said the return on the investment for fuel, mailings, uniforms and cars has been good for the city, Weaver said.
“I work for the people of Ward 1,” Weaver said. “Any questions pertaining to my office, I am available. If you call the office, my cell number is available, and I will answer 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I feel like the marshal should work for the people and be accessible.”
One of Weaver’s other employees, Deputy Marshal Tina Douglas, was also a MPD police officer and Webster Parish Sheriff’s deputy.
She serves warrants and makes arrests as Weaver and the other deputy marshals. Her past experience in law enforcement is a benefit in this job.
“It helps me when I get ready to approach a house – some of the skills we’ve learned,” Douglas said. “You don’t just get out without inspecting your surroundings. Just knowing what to look for when you go to the house.”
All the deputy marshals and their boss carry radios, wear vests and have handcuffs.
“He (Weaver) has given us the tools we need, so when we go out, we can get it done,” she said. “He’s real accessible. We have our cell phones and can call if we are unsure if we even have the right house.”
Other dedicated employees of the Marshal’s Office include Joe Cornelius, Cynthia Smith-Hawkins and Billy Joe Hawkins.
To reach any of them, call 318-371-4210.