Garyville criminals targeted

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sheriff’s substation will put officers on the streets


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – Four months before the October 20th primary that would end St. John Parish Sheriff Wayne Jones’s third bid for re-election, the three-term sheriff announced on Friday a new three-pronged strategy to combat rising crime in the parish’s housing developments.

The plan calls for four permanent posts in housing developments across the parish as well as a new task force dedicated to tracking down stolen weapons and enforcing youth curfews. But the centerpiece of the sheriff’s plan will be the construction of an all-hours police sub-station in Garyville, with an estimated completion date of September 1st, at the latest.

The proposed site is currently being used as a filing center for subpoenas and warrants, and was originally designed as a parish utilities office. It is open only during weekdays, 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., but after renovations, it will be manned by felony intercept groups at all hours to combat late night and weekend crime, specifically gunplay.

Jones said that the site’s proximity to hotspots of violent crime will make it an ideal location from which cops can clamp down on crimes in action and pursue suspects.

Secondly, starting next week, a new task force will be patrolling the parish, to curb loitering, enforce youth curfews and, above all, recover stolen weapons.

&#8220I want these guys to focus on getting these guns off the street,” Jones said. The department will use outstanding warrants on suspected individuals to search property and probe for stolen weapons.

&#8220That gives us the authority to go into these residences and shake the bushes,” Jones said.

A substantial portion of stolen weapons in the parish, he said, were burglarized from Nick’s Shooting Range two years ago.

&#8220From time to time when we recover a gun, sure enough, it’s from Nick’s guns,” Jones said.

The task force will also target loitering, in part, by targeting those gas stations, supermarkets, and liquor stores which allow patrons to loiter on their property.

&#8220If they’re in violation, we’ll be giving misdemeanor summons on a state level,” Jones said. &#8220They could actually lose their license.”

Finally, the task force is also slated to enforce the currently enacted curfew on all youth under 17 years of age after 10 p.m. Additionally, parents will be forced to accompany their children in court.

&#8220We pick these kids up at 15 years old, and sometimes we’re babysitting them into the morning because we can’t contact the parents,” Jones said. &#8220So I just want to let the parish know, this task force is hitting the streets next week.”

Jones will also station two police officers apiece in housing projects in Garyville, Reserve, Mt. Airy and the West Bank.

&#8220They’ll get to know the residents, find out who the knuckleheads are and deal with them,” Jones said. &#8220When those guys move in there, I think things are gonna be much quieter.