Keeping Magnolia Park safe a problem for sheriff’s office

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 22, 2000

DANIEL TYLER GOODEN / L’Observateur / January 22, 2000

VACHERIE – The St. James Sheriff’s Office is having trouble keepingMagnolia Park in Vacherie safe at night, Capt. Craig Poche of the sheriff’sdepartment told the Parish Council Wednesday.

Poche explained the park is becoming difficult to keep safe during late- night hours.

He told the council how a crowd resisted five officers as they responded to a call on Dec. 27. The crowd, attending a party at the park, wasthrowing bottles and other objects, Poche said. The attack resulted in oneof the officers being injured and all the vehicles being damaged.

Between December and January, 78 complaints have been called into the sheriff’s department, said Poche. The department has responded to variouscalls, including shots being fired on the premises.

“All the lights in the park have been shot out,” said Poche.

There is a 10 p.m. curfew on the park, but so far that has not been much ofa deterrent.

“Something is always happening after dark,” said Poche.

Councilmen suggested sheriff’s deputies spend breaks in the park to increase their visible presence. It was also suggested that limitations bedrawn up to regulate what activities the park may be reserved for.

In another matter, a new mapping system for the parish was discussed.

Jennifer Foshee, Mid South regional manager for SDS, Inc., explained whatthe new system would do for the parish.

Overhead photographs would be used to give an accurate picture of the St.

James landscape. Property lines could be overlaid to help the parish keeptrack of land ownership, she said.

“We have a list of all the property deeds in the parish,” said Assessor Glenn Waguespack.

The parish is basically a large puzzle, and the new map would allow a view of exactly how each piece of property fits together into the whole, Waguespack explained.

The map could also be used to view any water, gas, sewer and electrical line in the parish.

Emergency units could also be kept track of while on the road to make their coverage of the parish more efficient, said Waguespack.

The council authorized the parish assessor to collect fees from the taxing districts in order to begin mapping St. James.Also Wednesday, Charlie Duhe was commended and given an award by the council. Duhe had served the parish as a councilman and sometimechairman of the Coastal Zone Committee. He retired from the committeeafter 18 years of service.

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