Council OKs land donation, clears way for crime-fighting complex

Sheriff says new complex would allow officers to be in any corner of the parish within minutes


March 04, 2009 at 12:01 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The St. Charles Parish Council has agreed to donate 7.74 acres of land to the sheriff’s office, a move that Sheriff Greg Champagne said will allow him to consolidate his enforcement operations and bring more efficiency to the department’s crime-fighting ability.

The property, which is located on Sugarland Parkway in Luling, would be the site of a new law enforcement complex that will be able to withstand a Category 3 hurricane. Champagne is set to borrow up to $7 million from the state Bond Commission for the building’s construction.

“When I first took office, the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, probably unbeknownst to a lot of people, was operating out of eight separate locations around the parish,” Champagne said. “The different divisions were scattered out in small buildings here and there.”

With this new complex, Champagne said that the department’s patrol division, investigations division, juvenile division and crime scene division would all be under one roof.

“We can get everybody in one building and have roll calls where detectives can be consulting with patrol officers about ongoing investigations,” he said.

Right now, Champagne said that if he wants to call a meeting of his command staff, officers have to come from all over the parish.

“So sometimes we go days without even seeing each other,” he said.

Champagne said there is no doubt in his mind that the new building would bring more efficiency to the department’s crime-fighting ability.

New Sarpy resident Ed Burks did question what would happen to the department’s current substations, but Champagne said that the new complex would not affect the department’s visibility around the parish.

He said that patrol deputies do not work out of the New Sarpy substation, they only meet there for roll calls, The same would be true of the new complex. Deputies, once deployed to their “beats”  around the parish, would remain there throughout the shift as they do now.

Champagne said that the visibility and response time will not be hampered by this new complex. In fact, he suggests that it would be improved, since when an emergency occurs where detectives or administrators are needed, they would be in a much more centralized location.

“The land is a prime piece of real estate in the center of the parish and we can be in any corner of the parish within minutes,” he said.

Parish President V.J. St. Pierre also said that the new complex would allow more room on the third floor of the parish courthouse. That floor’s renovation has been one of St. Pierre’s goals since he took office.

“This would free up more space on the third floor,” St. Pierre said. “We are still in the process of looking at how we’re going to renovate the third floor, but he’s (Champagne) willing to give up more space.”




View other articles written By Jonathan Menard

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