St. John sheriff beefing up holiday shopping patrols
Published 12:00 am Monday, December 18, 2006
By KERI CHAMPION
LAPLACE – Residents of St. John Parish will be a lot safer for the holiday season with a much more visible police presence on the streets of the parish.
St. John the Baptist Sheriff Wayne Jones said they will be providing a mobile command unit service at all the large shopping areas in the parish.
Some deputies will be taking overtime shifts to help patrol the streets while other officers from specific divisions like narcotics and felony prevention will take on extra duties.
“Police will be out at places like Wal-Mart, Winn-Dixie and other high volume retail areas so that we can ensure that our residents return home safely. Police will be out on scooters and in plainclothes to watch for suspicious persons roaming the area,” Jones said.
“At this time of year criminals get more desperate for money and the likelihood of armed robberies and purse snatching increases,” Jones said.
The Sheriff’s Office provides the mobile command unit to high traffic areas every year during the holiday season. The mobility of the officers is a crime deterrent technique used to cut down on robberies for the holidays.
“We want everyone to know we are out there protecting them for the holidays. If anyone sees two or three units out on the street we want to inform them that there is no need for alarm because it is probably the mobile command teams making sure the area is secure,” he said.
The mobile unit is incorporated every year to try and identify possible criminals by approaching them and questioning them if they happen to be out late and seem suspicious.
“If we question someone in an area and later find that a crime has been committed, we use the contact sheets the officers make when questioning suspicious persons to help with the investigation,” Jones explained.
The mobile division will be spread out among parish shopping areas beginning Monday and will continue monitoring the streets with the extra units through January 3, 2007. Units will begin patrols at 6 p.m. and remain on duty until 12 a.m.