By Bonnie Culverhouse
Thanks to a “giving community,” Minden Police Department’s Special Response Team has a leg up on new equipment.
A burger and pulled pork plate fundraiser held last week netted $7,745 to ensure the new team will be one of the best in the area.
“This shows me that for all the negativity we hear about today, there’s still a lot of positivity in this community,” said co-coordinator Keith Jellum. “People are seeing the changes in the police department. They are trusting them to do their jobs, and we are proud of the support.”
Jellum, his wife Stevi with b1 Bank, J.D. Cottle and his wife Kim worked with sponsors from the area to sell tickets, cook food and raise funds.
Sponsors include Brookshire’s, Smokin’ J’s, Home Federal Bank, Bossier/Webster District Attorney Schuyler Marvin, Madden Contracting, Louisiana Home Health, Enterprise Rental, Laura Horton – State Farm Insurance, Minden Irrigation & Landscaping, Minden Farm & Garden, Under Dawgs Sports Grill, Horseshoe Dental, Hunter’s Body Shop, Main Street Barber, ABC Pediatrics, Kemp Designs, Josh Powell, Roco Tire, b1 Bank, Hers Bridal, Becca Rentz, Ace Hardware, Jellum Services, J.D. Cottle Catering, Minden Family Dental, Pitmans Custom Leather, AC Services of Minden and Brown Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram.
“We can’t thank these people enough,” said MPD Chief Jared McIver. “This amount is hard to process. The community support is amazing.”
Det. Lt. Chris Cheatham, head of SRT, said the money, along with that collected from the on-going gun raffle, has given the division a huge boost.
“We will use it for training and to purchase firearms, ballistics equipment, plates and helmets specifically for the team,” Cheatham said. “We may even purchase a drone.”
Cheatham said he expects to start making purchases within the next month.
“Anything we don’t use, will go to the department for patrol,” he added. “They need radars and equipment that will help them do their jobs. It will also go toward training.”
McIver said that in the past, MPD has always been forced to look outside the community for aid during SWAT-type emergencies.
“Now we are going to be one of the top special response teams around,” he said. “Other parishes will be calling us for help.”