LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Operating with a projected $3,000,000 deficit Lake Charles City administrators have made it very clear any additional costs have to be justified. But Lake Charles Police will tell you laws still need to be enforced, especially traffic violations.
"I sent our traffic division out along with some other members of the organization for one day and put their guys in the high-traffic areas and in six hours we wrote 129 moving citations," said Deputy Chief Mark Kraus, Lake Charles Police.
So how do you get more officers on the street and save money? - In comes the Local Agency Compensation Enforcement (LACE) program a partnership with the Calcasieu Parish District Attorney's Office.
"It actually imposes no additional cost on the agency. The officer is compensated by my office and the violators pay the money. That's what it is all about," explained Calcasieu District Attorney John DeRosier. "We have some bad traffic areas and we need to send a message to the drivers they will be stopped and will pay the price."
DeRosier said the LACE program has been helping Louisiana State Police Troop D for nearly two years. He hopes the Lake Charles Police Department sees the same success. Kraus estimates it will allow them to have four to five more officers on the road specifically for traffic detail.
"This will allow us to have more officers on the roadway. They will also be able to respond to emergency situations but their main job will be traffic detail in these high-traffic areas," said Kraus.
"Sounds like we get more enforcement for less tax dollars spent," said John Ieyoub, Lake Charles City Council President.
"It's a win-win for everybody. Even the violator because under the LACE program the violator pays the ticket - a predesignated amount depending on the violation. If paid within 30 days it does not go on their driving record. So that is big plus for the driver," said DeRosier.
The City Council unanimously approved using the LACE program.