Forum held for E. Feliciana sheriff candidates

CLINTON, LA (WAFB) - Two men running for sheriff in East Feliciana say that drugs are in the parish, law enforcement knows where the dealers are, but they're still on the street.

Five men are up against current Sheriff Talmadge Bunch.  One of those challengers is the East Feliciana Constable Joel Odom.  9 News has been told the parish was part of a Delta Drug Task Force years ago, but it disappeared and nothing replaced it.

Campaigning has increased as the weeks wind down to election day.  Wednesday, contenders stepped up to the podium at Friends of the Library Forum in Clinton to remind voters why they should be elected.

"It's time that we not tolerate narcotics in our parish any longer," said challenger Richard Sobers.

Getting drugs out of the parish was echoed more than once.

Joel Odom listed the known drug areas.

"McManus, Rileyville, The Sticks, Eddie Robinson Lane, Noel Thomas Lane, Scott Bar Road, Spaghetti Farms Trailer Park," said Odom.

Sobers says drugs are leading to blighted neighborhoods in those trouble areas.

"They can tell you right where the drug dealers are, but doesn't appear anything's being done about it," said Sobers.

Odom told voters, under the current leadership, there is no narcotics division, no drug dogs or detectives.

"One parish over, you have 13,000 people living there and four or five full-time detectives working narcotics.  St. Helena has one," said Odom.  "East Feliciana is one of the only departments in state that doesn't have narcotics division."

9 News wanted to ask the current sheriff if any of those claims are true, but he declined our interview.

Of the three minutes allotted during the forum, Bunch used 30 seconds to describe the two things he says a sheriff should do.

"Need to keep the peace and help the people," said Bunch.  "Done so in the past, continue to do so if re-elected.  Thank you."

9 News was told that a month ago, police there stumbled onto a meth lab in one of those drug neighborhoods  The constable says crack cocaine and prescription drugs are also a problem, but the current sheriff isn't doing anything to stop it.

Copyright 2011 WAFB. All rights reserved.