LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC)
The mass shooting at a Colorado movie theatre that has claimed at least 12 lives has shaken the country and right here in southwest Louisiana, law enforcement tells us that we're in pretty good shape for protection.
"We have taken a proactive and aggressive stance on patrolling really all of our major merchants, especially for instance, during the holidays" said Calcasieu Parish Sheriff, Tony Mancuso. "We do it year round, we make routine patrols through these areas" he said.
The areas that Sheriff Mancuso is speaking about are public areas like malls and movie theaters and Friday morning's Colorado massacre has sparked questions of our own security in places that were once thought to be safe.
"People are dropping off their kids to go see the movie, they expect their kids to be safe". That's how one Lake area movie goer reacted to the national news.
For the Theaters in the Lake area, both Cinemark Theatre and the United Artist theatre, Mancuso says they've taken the first steps in ensuring safety for the public.
"I think they have taken a proactive step in our community" said Mancuso. "They want a safe environment where the community can come and watch a movie and be safe".
The step? Hiring off duty sheriff and police officers as security officers, rather than privately hired security.
"We have a division that operates from our department that coordinates off duty security overtime details from the deputies and the police office has the same" Mancuso said.
Regardless of privately hired enforcement or police and sheriff officers, Mancuso says the presence of law enforcement is key.
"I think it gives people a sense of security and I think it tells our bad people, 'hey let's go somewhere else... maybe we should think about this before we do this'. I do think it absolutely deters crime" said Mancuso.