DA starts litter detail for offenders sentenced to community service

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA.(KPLC) -State law says those convicted of DWI  who are sentenced to community service must do at least sixteen of those community service hours picking up litter. Up until now the Calcasieu District Attorney's Office had no way to facilitate that, but now they do.

Friday morning there are ten offenders out picking up litter as part of the community service as part of their punishment for any number of possible offenses from DWI or simple assault to shop lifting.  The new program has been put in place by D.A. John DeRosier.  "If we can get some benefit without having to incarcerate people, get their attention, get them to perform a community service that is actually of significant benefit to the entire community, then it's a good thing to do and that's what we do here."

And he hopes it will help keep others from breaking the law. "It's certainly a deterrent to people who see the individuals with the vests working and picking up trash on the side of the road, and see the van that says district attorney community services. It doesn't take long for them to put two and two together and realize these people have done something that they should not have done and as a result of that they're out here picking up trash on the side of the road."

The community service participants are in Lake Charles today but will be throughout the parish at parks or boat launches or wherever litter pickup is needed.  Lollion Elmer with Lake Charles beautification committee loves the extra emphasis on litter pickup. "Oh, I'm excited to hear it because the City can really benefit from it and think about it this way-- taxpayers are getting a good return on their investment."

DeRosier expects to have people out here picking up litter three or four days a week though it will depend on just how many people have community service to complete.

Elmer points out the Clean City Contest will soon be here so everyone is encouraged to spruce up their property. As she puts it: Litter free and picture perfect.

We'll talk to officials about what they've put in place and see an area where they are working to pick up litter.

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