Patrols increase on Black Friday

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – Shoppers heading out to catch after-Thanksgiving deals at shops in St. John Parish can expect to see an increase in police presence around the major commercial sectors.

St. John Parish Sheriff Wayne Jones said Monday his office will be sending out extra deputies and conducting extra patrols around the heavier shopping areas in LaPlace.

“We will have them in regular police cruisers, on scooters and on foot,” Jones said. “Patrols will start at 5 a.m. and will run until 1 a.m. We want our residents to know that they can feel safe shopping in the parish at all hours of the day.”

Jones said he expects to have about 15 extra officers on hand for patrols at all times. He also said plainclothes deputies will be monitoring stores from the inside. He said all police vehicles doing patrols will have all top lights activated.

“We don’t want people to be alarmed by the excess of flashing lights,” said Jones. “We don’t want to deter them from shopping at a store with extra cars out front. We just want to let them know they will be safe.”

With the increase in patrols, Jones said his office will be spending more than $25,000 in overtime. He said the estimated figure is already built into the budget at the beginning of the year.

In addition to extra patrols, Jones also said the Sheriff’s Office will once again be manning mobile command units in the parking lots of Home Depot and Wal-Mart. Jones said the additional presence would remain in effect through the end of the year.

“The command units will go online every evening until the stores close,” Jones said. “The units have been very successful in helping us limit the number of incidents during the holidays. We have been lucky in the fact that the past few years have been quiet.”

Jones said he understands most residents can only do their shopping in the evening and believes the extra security will make people feel safer.

“We just want to encourage folks to shop locally and feel comfortable doing it,” said Jones. “We have not had excessive issues in the past, and we want to keep it that way.”