College welders outfit prisoner transport van

Published 12:04 am Saturday, May 28, 2016

LAPLACE — The St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office replaced its prisoner transport van with some help from South Central Louisiana Technical College welding students.

The vehicle is used to bring prisoners to court and back from lockup.

The Sheriff’s Office partnered with the College’s Reserve campus students to convert a new cargo and passenger van into an inmate transport vehicle, ensuring officer and prisoner safety. The Sheriff’s Office accepted the upgrade this month.

With the authorization of Sheriff Mike Tregre, the caging inside the vehicle is fabricated and installed by the college’s welding students, who were supervised by instructor Earl Dominique.

On hand for the van dedication were Dominique, welding student Jorge Herrera, Chief Deputy Steve Guidry, Major Jimmy Oubre, Lt. Lawrence Joseph and Sgt. Darryl Marchand.

Dean Penny Freeman said the project was similar to others previously completed between the two groups.

“Students get real life hands-on experience with a project such as this,” she said. “For those living in the community, it gives them a sense of pride. Their work is a visual reminder of the accomplishment each time they see it.”

Freeman said the project’s benefits are immeasurable.

“We teach the complete student,” she said. “So often, soft skills, such as problem solving and critical thinking, are overlooked by educators. Our students learn how to solve problems but also to be proactive to prevent them.

“A project like this one teaches them to think through the possible situations that may arise. They complete the project with those in mind and that knowledge is the most valuable.”