St. John court security revamp set

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 1, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE — Courthouse security became a priority for St. John Parish adding new hardware and deputies to the west and east banks of the Parish.

After receiving a proposal from the Sheriff’s Office, the Parish Council, along with Parish President Nickie Monica, worked out a plan to accommodate security issues at the Parish’s courthouses.

“We came up with a 75-25 percent split,” said Councilman Steve Lee. “We needed $68,000 to pay for the deputies and to provide more hardware, metal detectors and things for better security. The Sheriff’s Office agreed to this split.”

The Parish came up with the money and the Sheriff’s Office agreed to add more metal detectors and training for the officers.

“It’s always been a concern,” said Sheriff Jones. “We have been fortunate not to have had a serious incident. Judges have constantly asked for assistance, and we are glad to provide it.”

Two deputies and hardware will be for the Edgard Courthouse and one at the Acuri Center as needed, according to Lee.

“This should go in effect around Sept. 1,” Lee said. “Sheriff Jones wants to do some training between now and then to get the deputies ready.”

Sheriff Jones said the two officers will be post-certified veterans and will be trained by federal Marshals.

Unlike the Acuri Center, the Edgard Courthouse has previously and continue to experience problems during court, because of lack of security, according to Clerk of Court Eliana DeFrancesch.

In response to the problems DeFrancesch has wrote many letters and met with the several government entities to discuss security concerns. The need of at least two deputies present during child support and domestic violence trials has been stressed.

DeFrancesch also implemented several cameras at both locations, due to ongoing outbursts and safety concerns.