Frog Bayou rowdiness results in Rudy police force

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 76 views 

story and photo by Marla Cantrell
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Beginning Sept. 1, the tiny Crawford County town of Rudy, population 77, will have its own police department.

Mayor Bill Rogers said it’s something he’s wanted for a long time.

“The sheriff’s department does a great job, but they have a wide territory to cover,” Rogers said. “And that affects response time, something that can’t be helped. They’ve been outstanding. But it gets to the point you need a presence so that people feel safe and the people who come here realize they come under the same guidelines as they do in the bigger city.”

One of the concerns Rogers has is Frog Bayou, the creek that abuts the town. On Memorial Day alone, approximately 1,000 showed up to fish, swim, and, for some, to enjoy a beer or two.

“We get a lot of people racing up and down the street near Frog Bayou,” Rogers explained. “They’re either drunk when they get down there or they’re drunk when they leave. They get wound up, and spill over into our town. It was one of the deciding factors.”

Rogers spoke with Crawford County Chief Deputy Ronnie Brown, who’s running unopposed for sheriff in November, about his plan.

“The biggest expense for us was going to be the cars, so he said they had two retired ones out in the yard he’d lease us for $1 a year,” Rogers said. “We also got some of their older radios and equipment. County Judge John Hall approved it; it’s something they’ve done for other cities, like Cedarville. That was the first hurdle.”

Prosecutor Mark McCune got on board, and the plan unfolded. The next step was finding a police chief. Roger Hayden, 40, who’s worked as a reserve deputy for Crawford County, and a reserve officer for Dyer, was recently hired.

“He’d already met all the certification,” Rogers said. “It was a win-win for all of us. He was working to keep his certification, and we were looking for someone with experience, who also lived in the town.”

Hayden, who will earn $200 per month, said he’s honored to have been selected.

“I just like law enforcement,” Hayden said. “I’ve been surprised at how much work there is getting started, and the process you have to go through. But I like to serve, and I’m not going to be, you know, overbearing. I want to help.”

Rogers agreed.

“We did not start a P.D. to generate revenue. We’re not going to be a speed trap or anything like that. We just believe the taxpayers here deserved this kind of protection,” the mayor said.

Rudy will now be the primary law enforcement for the town, with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department backing them up whenever needed. The city has applied for state funding to assist in the operation of the police department, although that has not yet come through. One of the two 2002 Crown Victoria’s leased from Crawford County sits at city hall, unmarked and unused; Rogers is looking for an auxiliary officer to round out the force.

The mayor said it’s a big step for the town. So far, he’s heard only good things from residents, and he thinks it will curtail some of the rowdiness at Frog Bayou, which he thinks will help everybody in the long run.