Calcasieu Parish draws national attention with M.A.R.C Program

Calcasieu Parish draws national attention with M.A.R.C Program

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Calcasieu Parish is drawing national attention from its Multi-Agency Resource Center.

The center is a place where juveniles are taken by law enforcement for a misdemeanor crime after a school referral or for a family issue.

"We work to prevent juveniles from penetrating into the criminal world by intervening and providing them with resources and services," M.A.R.C. Manager Josh Campbell said.

The program runs under the Police Jury, but Director of Juvenile Justice Services Dane Bolin said the facility works well because many city municipalities came together and coordinated services to work under one building.

"It's the district attorney's office, the sheriff's office, the judges and everyone coming together," Bolin said.

He said the facility has been a very resourceful and a successful tool for the community.

Bolin said, "The process before the M.A.R.C. was about a 48-day process, and now it is a 2 to 3 hour process."

Before, police did not have a place to take a juvenile after an arrest was made and they were not going to a detention center. Now, they have a place to drop a child off, where he or she can be taken care of.

"Law enforcement's average stay here is about 12 minutes," Bolin said. "They can drop a child to us and we will take over from there."

Currently, the services provided at M.A.R.C. are funded through a property tax.

Bolin said the efficiency of the program saves the city money. He advises any city looking into a similar program to begin with teamwork.

"Come up with a plan and everything falls into place," he said. "Funding is key, too, but if you have a team together like we have here in Calcasieu Parish you can really move quicker in making a M.A.R.C."

Bolin said they did not add any new employees when opening M.A.R.C., instead they looked at how they were providing services along with the hours and used current employees.

The Multi Agency Resource Center receives visitors from across Louisiana and states across the country weekly.

"I think that over the next 2 or 3 years you will see a move over the state where parishes maybe model the M.A.R.C," said Bolin.

Funding for the center is part of the tax renewal for the police jury on the April 6th ballot.

More information is available HERE from KPLC's Courtney Lang.

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