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Questions rev over Shreveport City Marshal's DARE car - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Questions rev over Shreveport City Marshal's DARE car

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SHREVEPORT, La -

Is a sports car a legitimate purchase by the office of Shreveport City Marshal Charlie Caldwell? You may have seen the car at a parade since it appears that's the only time Caldwell takes off the wraps.

Caldwell had no comment and would not face our camera at Monday's Krewe of Harambee Parade, where his shiny Camaro was ready to roll. It has official logos from for the marshal's office, as well as D.A.R.E., law enforcement's anti-drug program for schools. That's despite the fact no one at Caldwell's office is a certified D.A.R.E. officer. Yet Caldwell calls it his "D.A.R.E. car" on his office's Facebook page.

"I don't see how it can be a D.A.R.E. car," says Joey Hester, a former deputy marshal under Caldwell. "There's no D.A.R.E. officers. There's no D.A.R.E. program. As far as I know it's never been used for D.A.R.E."

Hester is running against his old boss in this year's election. Caldwell let Hester go last fall because of a supposed budget cut. But Hester had clashed with Caldwell over policy.

And about that Camaro?

"It's basically a sports car for parades," Hester says. "That's all it's ever been used for."

Caldwell was so miffed by our KTBS 3 News camera's presence that he walked away from the parade. The Camaro rolled without him. Then the only sign of Caldwell at the parade was his face on a billboard hauled by a pickup on the route. 

Caldwell later replied to questions via fax, saying in part, "The D.A.R.E. car is shared with the Shreveport Police. When they need it they ask and we let them use it."

But when we asked the SPD's D.A.R.E. supervisor if in fact they use the marshal's D.A.R.E. car, Sgt. Alan Crump gave a one word answer -- "No."

The marshal's Facebook page shows Caldwell posing with the Camaro at parades after he used office funds to buy it on New Year's day, 2011, for the price of $25,421. That's an amount Hester calls "a waste."

"Why would you have a souped up sports car for a parade when you could actually hire another deputy to help enforce the 28,000 city warrants that are out there, or add extra security for the courthouse?" Hester says.

When there's no parade, the so-called D.A.R.E. car sits under a cover in the sally port at the marshal's office.

Hester says that raises security concerns. He says the sally port is designed for the transfer of inmates for city court, some of whom await felony charges. They have to be transferred out in the open, putting them, the deputies, and the public possibly at risk, Hester says.

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