CPSO starts "Crime Deterrent Unit"

June 8, 2007
By Theresa Schmidt

They are the Calcasieu sheriff's crime deterrent units. Each day, 24 seven, teams of five hit the road to provide extra support at various zones in the parish. The extra presence is ever present and you never know where they'll be according to Sheriff Tony Mancuso. "And their job, for instance, if he's assigned to Iowa they're going to cover every street in Iowa, they're going to check on businesses in Iowa, they're going to deter crime in Iowa. They're going to patrol. They're not there to answer calls, now certainly if something happens that's major, it's flexible."

Corporal Jason Johnson is a member of the unit. He thinks they're already making a big difference. "We're out here talking to a lot of the citizens and business owners and they like seeing more deputies on the road and the neighborhoods."

Their presence is believed to have helped with the quick apprehension of an escapee recently in the Moss Bluff area. "They had an escapee from the federal prison that was working on a road crew, ran through the woods, fled from an officer. We were able to deploy within two or three minutes and were able to capture the subject within thirty minutes."

Mancuso, "They can come knock out a problem and then get back on the road. So, it really serves several purposes. But their job is to deter crime and let people know that they're visible and they're seen and that's how you stop crime. You have a high presence."

Explains Johnson during the ride along, "You know if we're in an area and we have a lot of burglaries or whatever crimes are going on in that area, then we're on the lookout for suspicious vehicles or things of that nature."

And with cameras and computers in their cars, Mancuso says they're becoming more efficient. "Just having the computers in the cars saves them a lot of time and effort. They do their reports right there. They don't have to come in and write everything and turn it in."

Mancuso says it's part of what taxpayers are getting for the new taxes they voted in last year.

The program started in May and resulted in the hiring of twenty new deputies. In one month the Crime Deterrent Unit did more than 4000 checks of businesses and made forty arrests.