Police Pay Raises Paying Dividends
For the past several years the Covington Police Department has operated severely short-staffed. Due to the lowest pay in St. Tammany Parish, we were staffed with 13 patrol officers and 0 traffic officers where we should have 20 and 3.

In August the Council voted to increase police pay. Additionally, we changed our physical abilities requirement from a military-type physical test to the more accepted Fit-for-Duty. Since September 1st, about 50 individuals have applied for the Cov PD. This is huge.

Of course, application does not equal acceptance. First, the applicant must pass the State Civil Service exam (offered only once per month - most recently in West Monroe). Second is a background check. Thirdly is the interview process. Once accepted, the candidate must then complete 16 weeks at the Academy and/or 16 weeks of field training (depending on previous experience). Conclusion: We will continue to be short-staffed for the next few months.

The most often repeated complaint in all of Covington is speeding. Federal guidelines and studies indicate that enforcement is the answer. Once the traffic division is staffed, enforcement will be a priority. Unfortunately, until then, our 3 to 4 patrol officers per 12 hour shift will continue to focus on accidents with injury, domestic violence, opioid overdoses and illegal/ stolen guns.
Covid on the Rise Locally
In western St. Tammany Parish we have been fortunate to avoid an overwhelming Coronavirus outbreak. However, we are now seeing an uptick.

This week at St. Tammany Health System (STHS), 17 patients are in Covid care, an increase from 9 a week ago. This remains below the mid-20s census typical to June, but still reason for concern. Total hospital census is about 50% capacity.

All residents are reminded that as we head into winter with people spending more time indoors, the risk of exposure to colds, flu and viruses, including Covid increases. STHS recommends everyone wear a mask, follow proper handwashing and cough etiquette and maintain your distance from others, particularly when you don't feel well.
Tip 411 Covington PD, It's Really Cool
892-8500 not so much
For decades we citizens of Covington could dial 892-8500 with our concerns (small or large). With radio dispatch moving from our jurisdiction to the Sheriff's office, we no longer enjoy that 24 hour service.

However, there is an alternative. On your smartphone, go to the App Store and search Tip 411 Covington PD. Download the free app. Texting on this app goes directly to the shift supervisor. You can share your name and phone number or do so anonymously.

Texting a tip does not always mean an officer will be able to respond immediately. However, it does mean the Department will have an increased awareness of the community's concerns. That's a good thing.
Covington Police Department Toy Drive
The Caroline Darby’s Christmas Wish, formerly known as Covington Police Toys for Tots was started in 1995 by Sgt. Wayne Mayberry and the Marines along with a host of CovPD employees, mainly Caroline Darby.

An average of 500 children attend this event annually.  It takes about 6 to 8 thousand dollars plus a host of volunteers to provide this special experience for our children.

CovPD is asking for help to keep this program thriving and continuing to put smiles on children’s faces. If so inclined, please mail your donation to:

          Caroline Darby’s Christmas Wish
           PO Box 4074, Covington LA 70434
Questions: Contact Tammy Bushnell @ 985-892-8500 Opt 2
Covington Concert Band
The Covington Concert Band recently began rehearsals at Bogue Falaya Hall. The band of extraordinary volunteer musicians will perform free concerts throughout the year.

The band is led by composer and conductor Erik Morales. He has been involved with music for most of his life, composing and arranging music professionally for 28 years.

For more information, contact Executive Director Meredith Berry at 985-867-1206.
Bogue Falaya Park
Serving Orleanians since 1800
In or around the year 1800 the Spanish Governor, located in Mobile, granted 640 acres along the banks of the Bogue Falaya River to Jacques Dreux. He called the area St. Jacques. In 1813, Dreux sold the property to John Wharton Collins who renamed the area the District of St. John and called the community Wharton. Today, we know it as downtown Covington.
Dreux, from New Orleans, oversaw a settlement around present day Bogue Falaya Park of about 4 pioneer cabins.

Dreux's sister was named Charlotte Dreux de Gentily. Yes, she was "of Gentily." She married a gentleman named Jacques Villere. Today in New Orleans we still find the street names Dreux Avenue and North Villere.
They had sons who had sons who had sons who today, still living in western St. Tammany, include ... the recent Mayor of Mandeville, Donald Villere, his brothers local Covington engineer Eddie Villere and his children Heath, Ashley and Edward as well as, the former Mayor of Covington, (1991-2003) Keith Villere .
For the more complete story, check out local author Ron Barthet's article in the Covington Weekly.

For a more complete history of St. Jacques to Wharton to Covington, check out Professor C. Howard Nichols' article Covington History on the City website.
Replies to this e-mail go directly to Mayor Mark.
Utility bill auto-draft from your checking account eliminates multiple steps for your utility billing clerks ... which makes city hall more efficient. 
That's a good thing.

If you have bulk debris or green waste , missed trash or recycling or need a new trash receptacle, click for Coastal Customer Care Form.

Rooted in History, Focused on the Future
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