Calcasieu Police Jurors see proposed redistricting plan

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA.(KPLC) -Calcasieu police jurors now have had a chance to see what redistricting may mean for them as far as the specific area each will represent.

It means some people will soon be represented by a different police juror even if all incumbents are re-elected in the fall.

The proposed new districts were unveiled to jurors at their meeting. The ideal population number of people in each of the fifteen single member districts is 12,851 people. Administrator Bryan Beam says as required, the plan preserves minority voting strength in the four minority districts.  "The African American percentages range in those districts from 60.3% to 69.6% which is very good. It maintains the core area of the police jury districts, meaning no district incumbents will run against each other."

The specialist they hired to map out new lines, cade Cole, says changes have been kept to a minimum.  "Our plan respects distinct communities of interest keeping them intact where possible and provides for districts of compact and logically adjacent territory."

With shifting of lines some people will get a new police juror. For instance Elizabeth Griffin's district loses people who will be represented by Hal McMillin. Explains Cole, "District 14 which is the Westlake based district gains the area of north Westlake currently represented by a Lake Charles juror. We believe this is positive because it reduces the number of districts that cross the river."

As well,  Moss Bluff Juror Shannon Spell had asked if that area might gain a juror-- not yet, though explains Cole.  "District One was required to shrink. We looked seriously at Mr. Spell's request at the possibility of a second jury seat based primarily In Ward One. But the numbers do not support this at the present time, perhaps in ten years. We shifted the Gillis Topsy areas out of their current districts and contracted District Two to reduce its footprint in Ward One."

Now's the time for citizens who want to comment to get involved. For a look at the proposed new districts click here for a link to the parish's web site. Also, they'll have public hearing on the maps from 5:30 to 6:30 PM next Tuesday march 29th. They want all public comment in by April 7th.

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