Chief Raymond poll

Here's an image of the emailed online poll SPD Chief Ben Raymond invites police officers to take part in.

SHREVEPORT, La. - Shreveport's police chief is "coercing" officers, according to the police union president Michael Carter.

Carter is talking about an online poll Chief Ben Raymond is running via email over an upcoming bond election.

Raymond says he's just trying to find whether his officers support the bond proposal that includes a new police headquarters and four substations. Raymond has been out front in trying to help the Mayor Adrian Perkins get the bond package passed.

The email sent to police says they can click on the link if they wish to give their opinion as to their support of Proposition 2. The email says each employee can vote once and that it's anonymous.

This comes after the Shreveport Police Officers Association voted against supporting the bond. Carter said spending on capital improvements under the bond will push officer pay raises further back.

Carter said Raymond is using his position to sway officers.

"The fear of retaliation is real," Carter said. "He's calling this an anonymous poll. Nothing via email is anonymous. All emails have a signature stamp. They can all be traced. Plus this is the taxpayers' computers. You don't use taxpayer computers to take these types of polls on these types of issues."

Raymond insists he won't know if officers say yes or no in his poll.

"There'll actually be no retaliation. And people aren't going to upset me whether they believe we need a new building or not," Raymond said. "But I do want to know what do the masses believe. Do all police officers believe we need a new facility, or do we not?"

Carter asked Perkins to stop Raymond from running the poll. But Perkins' spokesman says the mayor is allowing it.

"It's just an anonymous, voluntary poll. If someone doesn't want to provide any input then they're not in any way, shape or form compelled to," said Perkins' communications director Ben Riggs.

Riggs says the administration's chief technology officer, Keith Hanson, helpedĀ  Raymond create the poll, using Google technology.

"There's no way you'd be able to figure out who answered what," Riggs insists. "This is an entirely anonymous poll."

Carter believes it's all an attempt to rewrite officers' position on the bond.


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