Committee appointed to look at jail situation

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 29, 1998

L’Observateur / April 29, 1998

HAHNVILLE – The jail situation is bad and will only get worse, according to St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne.”As illustrated by our recent drug roundup, the problem of available jail space is becoming intolerable,” Champagne asserted. “We have had tohouse prisoners out of parish and adjust our enforcement operations due to this problem.”Many of those inmates have been housed in St. John the Baptist Parish’snew jail, built principally with state funds.

In an effort to attack the problem, Champagne designated Maj. Sam Zinnaas Jail Project Coordinator to handle the day-to-day coordination of the project. He will also stay in charge of the department’s federal grantsprogram and as one of the department’s representatives on the 9-1-1 Commission.

Zinna’s duties as commander of communications, records, training, data processing, purchasing and district attorney investigators will be taken over, as of May 1, by Capt. Jon Walsdorf, present commander of PatrolOperations.

In addition, Lt. Fred Oubre, present watch commander, will temporarilytake command of the Patrol Division.

At the same time, the St. Charles Parish Council has established acommittee to address the jail problem, including Parish President Chris Tregre, Champagne, 29th Judicial District Attorney Harry Morel and Judge Emile St. Pierre and Parish Councilmen Barry Minnich, Terry Authement,Dickie Duhe, Brian Champagne and Ron Phillips.

“We have reached the stage in this process,” Champagne noted, “where our attention must be focused full time to this project.””I am committed to a new jail complex to alleviate this problem for our adult inmate population and to provide a facility to house juvenile offenders,” Champagne continued, and added: “A new jail and juvenile facility is essential to the continued quality of life for the residents of St. Charles Parish.”He concluded, “It is also critical for our department to maintain the level of services that we provide and to maintain the excellent level of proficiency that we enjoy.”

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