Newly-elected Central leaders share vision for city

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A new mayor, a new police chief and new city council members. A whole new cast of players for the city of Central will be sworn in July 1. The group was at the Ronald Reagan Newsmakers luncheon Tuesday to talk about the election and what their vision is for the city.

Part of Mayor-elect Jr. Shelton's plan is to bring in more industry.

"Commerce with good jobs. Bring in retail to support our families and of course work closely with developers in how they build subdivisions and where they build them," Shelton said to the group.

He says he'll meet with the director of the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport to figure out how Central can bring in more commerce. More jobs and activities would also increase the draw to live in the city.

"They come to Central for the school system. They come because it's a safe and a great place to live. They come to Central because of that great rural feel."

More residents would also place more importance on policing for the newly elected police chief James Salsbury. Salsbury is currently the assistant chief. He says eventually he would like to add 13 more reserve officers to cover the entire city as back up to East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office. Right now there are 10 reserve officers.

Salsbury says his initial goal is to try and find a larger building to hold the police department.

"The office started with just the chief then it went to five. Now it's at 11 ... way to small," Salsbury said.

He would also like to see a city court in Central so that any fines, like traffic violations, would benefit the city, instead of going to the parish. All the reserve officers have been certified to use a radar gun, but only two write citations.

The idea, they say is to keep Central moving forward and growing. Shelton says one day they may be the model for other cities.

"In a few short years, I believe Central will be the most important city in the parish."

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