Magnolia State Peace Officers Association holds annual conference in Alexandria through Saturday

By Sherri L. Jackson
Everything Cenla

The 54th annual Training Conference of the Magnolia State Peace Officers Association will be held Wednesday, June 9 through Saturday, June 12 at the Alexander Fulton Hotel & Convention Center.

The non-profit community service organization is made up of Africa-American law enforcement officers, who come together for training and to discuss issues that are important to members and to law enforcement, said Lt. Charles Muse Jr., president of the organization. Muse is a member of the Hammond Police Department.

“The fundamental purpose of this conference is training for its Magnolia members,” Muse said.

Magnolia State Police Officers Association began in 1956 with the purpose of improving law enforcement and how justice was administered in the state. According to the organization’s Web site, William B. Hines, who was the first black police officer hired in Shreveport, founded the organization after attending the 20th annual convention of the Texas Negro Peace officers in Beaumont, Texas.

Hines continues to be an active member of the organization serving as a board member.

“Though the purpose of the organization has evolved, there is still a need for such an organization to look out for its officers and to be abreast of all of the issues throughout the state that involve officers,” Muse said. “We lobby elected officials if we need to do so. Our voice needs to be heard just like other organizations.”

During the conference, Muse said, the organization will consider the issue of local sheriffs and police chiefs “shying away from supporting their officers financially to attend the conference.”

“I want to thank those who support their officers. Some chiefs and sheriffs are not familiar with Magnolia and what we do or they don’t take Magnolia as a legitimate organization,” he said.

Muse said the organization will establish a committee that will visit with local sheriff’s agencies and the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association in hopes of sharing the organization’s story and goals.

“We want to let them know we are legitimate and you’re going to have to deal with us,” Muse said.

The conference begins Wednesday with registration and an executive board meeting. The President’s Reception will be Wednesday night.

Thursday’s activities include a Pistol Match and training sessions regarding emergency preparedness. On Friday, June 11, the organization will recognize its deceased members in a memorial service and recognize officers in an Awards Luncheon. Alexandria Police Chief Darren Coutee, who retired earlier this year, will receive a plaque recognizing his retirement. The conference will end Saturday with additional training sessions and entertainment.

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